Donating 500 million Covid vaccine doses not enough, US should do more: Congressman Krishnamoorthi

'This must be only the first step in a larger effort to expand and accelerate production and delivery of the billions of doses'

Donating 500 million Covid vaccine doses not enough, US should do more: Congressman Krishnamoorthi

health worker prepares to administer the dose of Covid-19 vaccine. PTI photo.

Washington, June 11  

Indian-American Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi has said that donating 500 million doses of anti-coronavirus vaccine to the world, as promised by President Joe Biden, was not enough and the United States should do more in the global fight against the pandemic.

Before attending a G-7 summit in England, Biden on Thursday promised to donate 500 million doses of vaccine to bolster the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic across the world.

Later, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that the G7 nations are set to commit to providing at least 1 billion coronavirus shots to the rest of the world. 

"While I'm glad the US will purchase 500 million doses to support global inoculation efforts with 200 million doses to be given by the end of 2021, that is not enough. This must be only the first step in a larger effort to expand and accelerate production and delivery of the billions of doses we need to end the pandemic," Krishnamoorthi said.

"Expanding global vaccination efforts is imperative for national security when the greatest threat to the success of our pandemic recovery is the emergence of new COVID-19 variants in countries facing outbreaks. Fighting that threat requires that we produce and administer as many jabs as possible as quickly as possible to limit the time and opportunities for the virus to mutate into more dangerous and even vaccine-resistant forms," he said.

Biden has announced that the US is taking a major step that will supercharge the global fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

"The United States will purchase a half a billion doses of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to donate to nearly 100 nations that are in dire need of it in the fight against this pandemic. That's a historic step. The largest single purchase and donation of COVID-19 vaccines by any single country ever," he said.

These half a billion vaccines will be shipped starting from August. Two hundred million of these doses will be delivered this year, and 300 million more will be delivered in the first half of 2022, the US president said.

He claimed the US has contributed more than any nation to COVAX -- a collective global effort that is delivering COVID-19 vaccines across the world.

"We have supported manufacturing efforts abroad through our partnerships with Japan, India, and Australia -- known as the 'Quad'. We've shared (vaccine) doses with our neighbours Canada and Mexico," Biden said.

However, Krishnamoorthi said to fully meet the global need for vaccines and to safeguard the United States as well, not only does it needs to dramatically expand production but also ensure distribution and end-to-end delivery to vaccinate at least 60 per cent of the population of the countries struggling most in this regard, as quickly as possible.

"This week, I introduced the Nullifying Opportunities for Variants to Infect and Decimate Act to do precisely that through a USD 34 billion programme that would produce and deliver the eight billion vaccine doses we need while building the infrastructure to monitor and prevent new future strains and pandemics. 

"Protecting our country from new coronavirus variants means producing and distributing billions of vaccines where they are needed and the NOVID Act would do precisely that," he said.

The Congressman also said that he was glad that President Biden has taken the first step forward.

"But it must be the beginning of a far larger and far faster global vaccination effort on a much faster timetable in order to protect our country from the threat of new variants and to end this pandemic for good," he said. PTI 

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