Tribune News Service
New Delhi, May 18
US President Joe Biden announced the exports of an additional 2 crore vaccines and agreed to push the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to lend about $ 900 billion to members as Washington lined up to gain leadership vis-a-a-vis Russia and China in the global battle against Covid.
The White House did not give a break-up of countries that will receive the vaccines. This may be because the US has also sought "concrete, deliverable commitments’’ from governments in need of vaccines.
The US has already promised to ship out 6 crore vaccines. The 2 crore additional doses will be from its Pfizer, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson stocks and shipments will be cleared in six weeks.
Chinese and Russian vaccine manufacturers have taken a lead by exporting at least 40 crore vaccine doses to countries in need, including India.
Biden did not name any country but said the US will also expand global vaccine manufacturing and distribution besides the production of vital raw materials.
The US International Development Finance Corporation has already launched a global vaccine initiative including the US Quad Vaccine partnership. It plans to make 100 crore doses of Covid vaccines, mainly in India, by the end of 2022.
A White House fact sheet mentioned that the US has recently sent six flights and up to $100 million of assistance to India and is supporting new assistance as it experiences a surge.
So far, the US has sent 45 lakh doses of AstraZeneca vaccine to Canada and Mexico.
The US has been criticised for squatting on a stockpile of vaccines it does not need while the White House has come under fire for continuing with the isolationist Trump Administration’s policies banning the export of vaccine raw material and other Covid related medicines.
India will be one of the beneficiaries of Biden’s assurance for a 650 billion general allocation of special drawing rights (SDRs) to IMF member countries.
The White House also reiterated support for waiving intellectual property protections for Covid vaccines.
"Because the US has done so much in the US, we can continue to do more to help the world by taking a leading role in ending the pandemic globally and building a coordinated, multilateral effort around the world aimed at ending the pandemic,’’ said Biden.
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