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BIG STORY                                                                    APRIL 23, 2021  |    The Indian Eye                          10

                               covid-19: colossal failure

           a friend in need? Biden-Harris get the

            flak for slow response to india’s pleas

        As India cries for help, the US government promises to offer the much-needed support

        Our Bureau                                                                                                    help to the US government with

        Washington, DC/New Delhi                                                                                      regards to the hoarding of vac-
                                                                                                                      cines. “We are sitting on 35-40
            ndia needs help. It has al-                                                                               million doses of AstraZeneca
            ready asked the US for                                                                                    vaccine Americans will never
        Isupport, especially for raw                                                                                  use. Can we please give or lend
        material that is used for mak-                                                                                them to India? Like may be
        ing vaccines. But little help has                                                                             now? It’ll help. A lot,” Jha said.
        come from the US so far.                                                                                         The International Monetary
            On Sunday, the US it was                                                                                  Fund  (IMF)’s  chief  economist
        rushing therapeutics, rapid diag-                                                                             Gita Gopinath offered a more
        nostic test kits, ventilators, and                                                                            general statement expressing
        Personal Protective Equipment                                                                                 her thoughts on India’s Covid
        (PPE) to help treat Covid-19                                                                                  crisis —  “Deeply  disturbed  by
        patients and protect front-line                                                                               the exploding health crisis in
        health  workers  in India. The                                                                                India. So many of my family,
        announcement came only after                                                                                  friends and colleagues grappling
        severe criticism of its response               People in india are deeply upset with biden and Harris         with this second wave.”
        to pleas  for help from  India.                                                                                  The Biden administration
        The United States also is “pur- quires immediate support from  resulting in an increased sense  has denied that there are any
        suing options to provide oxygen  the United States and the inter- of helplessness within the com- ‘outright  bans’  on  the  export
        generation and related supplies  national community. India has  munity. Visuals of desperate  of vaccine raw materials in re-
        on an urgent basis,” the White  always stepped up to support  people outside hospitals, mass  sponse to an appeal by vaccine
        House National Security Coun- others in need and now the time  graves, cremation sites, and  manufacture Serum Institute
        cil said in a statement.             has come for us to help India,”  endless tweets asking for leads  of India’s (SII) owner, Adar
            Earlier, the US defended  tweeted Nisha Biswal, a former  on oxygen cylinders, plasma do- Poonawalla, to U.S. President
        restrictions on the export of  US assistant secretary of state  nors, or Covid beds are only ex- Joe Biden, asking him to lift an
        key raw materials for the man- for South Asia in the Obama  acerbating this despair. Google  embargo on exports.
        ufacture of COVID-19 vaccine  administration.                            Docs and other online toolkits           Poonawalla, on April 16, had
        that threatens to slow India’s          According to a report by the  have been created, and people  asked Mr Biden to “lift the em-
        vaccination drive. In a blunt  Duke Global Health Innova- are relying on  the all-powerful  bargo” on raw materials to assist
        statement, a senior State De- tion Center, the United States  tool of resharing, retweeting or  the production of COVID-19
        partment official said the Biden  is on track to have an oversup- forwarding the cries for help.              vaccines. SII, which produc-
        administration’s first obligation  ply of up to 300 million or more          There are many who want  es ‘Covishield’, a version of the
        is to take care of the require- vaccine doses as soon as July -  the US to lift its export embar- COVID-19 vaccine developed by
        ments of the American people.        counting the Astra Zeneca and  go on raw materials needed to  the University of Oxford and As-
            This caused a shock in In- Johnson and Johnson vaccines  mass-produce vaccines. Given  traZeneca, uses bio-reactor bags
        dia and people were getting  that Washington has side-lined  the importance of Indian origin  from U.S. firms ABEC and GE
        angry. The Indian social media  - even as many countries in the  communities as political groups  Healthcare to grow cells for their
        is full of anger against the US  developing world will have to  in countries like the US, this  vaccines, according to reports.
        government. Even American  wait years to vaccinate a majori- could have big impact on In- It  also  uses  filters,  microcarrier
        civil society, lawmakers, and  ty of their populations.                  dia-US relations.                    beads and cell culture media-
        businesses are joining the de-          Even the vast Indian-Amer-           In  this  situation,  social  me- all of which are in short supply.
        nunciation of Washington. Also,  ican community is getting upset  dia appeals by Indian-Ameri-                    But emptions are running
        former  administration  officials  with the US administration.  Ins- cans in the face of challenges in  high in India and the role of
        and Democratic Party stalwarts  tagram and Twitter have become  the subcontinent can be wield- Biden-Harris                     administration
        are urging  the  Biden  White  the primary platforms for Indi- ed for good. Providence-based                  during a grave crisis can create
        House to respond to India’s  ans abroad to stay informed on  physician Ashish K. Jha, for in- a long-term anti-Americanism
        needs. “India’s current wave re- the Covid-19 situation in India,  stance, made a simple call for  in India.

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