Biden last week announced that the US will allocate 75 per cent, nearly 1.9 crore of the first tranche of 2.5 crore doses, of unused COVID-19 vaccines from its stockpile through the UN-backed COVAX global vaccine sharing programme to several countries.
India will be a ''significant recipient'' of the US vaccines as India has been included in both the identified categories in the allocation - direct supply to neighbours and partner countries, and under the COVAX initiative, according to India's Ambassador to the US Taranjit Singh Sandhu.
Over the past few days, dozens of Congressmen and several Senators have highlighted on social media the need to help India during the COVID-19 crisis and appreciated the decisions being taken by the Biden administration.
Congressman Brad Sherman thanked Secretary of State Antony Blinken during a hearing on Monday by House Armed Services Committee on State Department’s annual budgetary proposals for the year 2022 for everything the administration is doing to help countries around the world during the COVID-19 pandemic and particularly, as a co-chair of the India Caucus, everything it is doing for India.
So far, dozens of US Congressmen and Senators have praised the Biden administration for its decision to supply millions of vaccines to India in the coming weeks and months.
“We must do all we can to vaccinate Americans. But where we have extra vaccines we must help countries like India, who continue to suffer. My district has one of the largest Indian-American populations in our country, the stories I’ve heard of India’s suffering are heartbreaking,” said Congressman Eric Swalwell, who represents the 15th Congressional District from California.
Congresswoman Chrissy Houlahan tweeted that in May, she wrote to Biden outlining the urgency to aid India amidst the surging COVID-19 cases.
“I'm glad he heard our call for action & is sending millions of vaccines overseas. As long as this pandemic is a threat abroad, it remains a threat here too,” she said.
Over the past several weeks, the Indian Embassy here and its consulates have reached out to US lawmakers, briefing them about the public health crisis that the country has faced in view of the deadly second wave of COVID-19.
Congresswoman Haley Stevens on Monday commended the White House for sending surplus vaccines abroad.
“As our friends in India continue battling the COVID-19 pandemic, we need to do everything we can to help them. That means sending them the Astrazeneca vaccine ASAP (as soon as possible),” she said.
“With the recent increase in #COVID-19 positivity rates in India, the US must help our ally in obtaining resources & #PPE to fight this virus. I recently sent a letter advocating for additional vaccines for India, and will continue working to support the US-India relationship,” said Congressman David Schweikert from Arizona.
Congresswoman Debbie Lesko said that she is deeply saddened by the increasing COVID-19 cases in India.
“I am keeping the people of India in my prayers and will work with my colleagues in Congress to support India in its fight to combat this virus,” Lesko said.
Congressman Al Green applauded the Biden administration's response to send vaccinations to India and other nations in dire need.
“A global virus demands a global response. We will not truly be able to defeat COVID-19 until our neighbours across the globe can safely access vaccines as well,'' he tweeted.
“The #COVID19 surge in India is heartbreaking. Thankfully, though, we are in a position to help. The United States must continue to provide our friends in India and other countries with lifesaving equipment, vaccines and other aid as quickly as possible,” Senator Rob Portman said in a tweet.
In April and May, India struggled with the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic with more than 3,00,000 daily new cases. Hospitals were reeling under a shortage of medical oxygen and beds. In mid-May, new coronavirus cases in India hit a record daily high with 4,12,262 new infections.
On Tuesday, India reported less than one lakh new coronavirus infections after a gap of 63 days, while the daily positivity rate dropped to 4.62 per cent.
A single day rise of 86,498 cases were registered, the lowest in 66 days, taking the total tally of COVID-19 cases to 2,89,96,473.
The COVID-19 death toll climbed to 3,51,309 with 2,123 daily deaths, the lowest in 47 days.