PHILADELPHIA — IMPACT commends the Biden administration for taking a step toward fighting the pandemic globally by sharing 20 million doses of U.S. approved vaccines, in addition to the 60 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccines. President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris must commit to sending a majority of these vaccines to fight the devastating humanitarian crisis in India where over half of the world’s new infections are.
“We welcome the Biden Administration’s announcement that it is sending 80 million vaccines by the end of June, but that’s all still a drop in the Indian Ocean,” says Neil Makhija, Executive Director at IMPACT. “With the scale of the crisis in India and the emerging variants in the region, it is crucial that most of these doses be sent immediately to India to tackle the global crisis and protect the supply chain of vaccines for the world.”
IMPACT organized a petition to galvanize the support of the South Asian diaspora and pressure the White House to take swift action. In response, the Biden administration sent critical aid to India, but this crisis requires a larger response from the U.S. government. In the coming days, we will launch a public #SendIndiaVaccines campaign to urge the administration to direct their efforts to vaccinating people in India.
This is not an Indian crisis, but a global one. Prior to the devastating second wave of Covid-19, India was the largest manufacturer of the COVAX program. India’s halt of vaccine exports has left a shortage of over 140 million doses worldwide — a number which is only expected to increase. Countries such as Nepal are now left without any vaccines due to the crisis in India.
Without a majority of the doses going to fight the crisis in India, we run the risk of leaving beneficiary countries vulnerable and prolonging the pandemic globally. It only takes one vaccine-resistant strain to set back all of the progress we’ve made to date. Committing half of the U.S. surplus vaccines to India would not only slow the spread of new variants, it would help resume the COVAX program and accelerate global immunity.