US Gov’t To Provide COVID-19 Vaccines, Supplies to India

By Erin Sanders -

April 29, 2021

The US government is looking at options to provide US-made doses of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine to India and is funding an expansion of manufacturing capacity for Biological E. Limited (BioE), a Hyderabad, India based vaccine and pharmaceutical company, to produce at least 1 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines.

In a press briefing by White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki and Director of the National Economic Council Brian Deese on April 26, 2021, Ms. Psaki said, “Given the strong portfolio of vaccines that the [US] has already authorized and available in large quantity […] and given AstraZeneca is not authorized for use in the [US], we do not need to use AstraZeneca in our fight against COVID over the next few months.”

Before any AstraZeneca doses are shipped from the US, White House officials said that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will confirm product quality. This is being done in the context of the FDA’s ongoing review of all doses made at the plant where these AstraZeneca doses were produced.

Additionally, the US will provide raw materials for the production of Covishield, AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine, at the Serum Institute of India, a Pune, India-based vaccine manufacturer. The US government’s redirection of its own order of Astra Zeneca manufacturing supplies to India will allow India to make over 20 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine, according to an April 28, 2021 White House fact sheet.

Separately, the US Development Finance Corporation (DFC) is funding an expansion of manufacturing capability for BioE to ramp up to produce at least 1 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines by the end of 2022.

The US government is also deploying a team of public health advisors from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to work in close collaboration with the US Embassy, India’s health ministries, and India’s Epidemic Intelligence Service staff. USAID will also work with the CDC to support and fast-track the mobilization of emergency resources available to India through the Global Fund, an international financing and partnership organization.

Additionally, to help treat COVID-19 patients and protect front-line healthcare workers in India, the US has identified supplies of therapeutics, rapid diagnostic test kits, ventilators, and personal protective equipment that will be made available to India. The US also is pursuing options to provide oxygen generation and related supplies on an urgent basis.

Source: White House (Press Briefing—AstraZeneca), White House (Fact Sheet) and White House (US Development Finance Corporation)