USA to deploy additional support to India, healthcare workers: White House

Coronavirus Priority to vaccinate Americans first says US on export ban on vaccine raw materials

Experts have long warned that no one will be safe from Covid-19 until everyone is - including those in the developing world, making it in the global interest for wealthier countries eager to move past the pandemic to help large, lower-income nations like India to vaccinate their populations.

It listed other initiatives Washington is taking to help India battle its surge, but did not mention sending surplus AstraZeneca vaccine, as a backlash grows over the fate of the USA stockpile of some 30 million doses which have not been approved for use.

"Every day, it the same situation, we are left with two hours of oxygen, we only get assurances from the authorities", one doctor said on television.

The US decision on whether to lift the ban could prove to be even more crucial for India in the coming few months as all citizens above the age of 18 will become eligible for the vaccine in the third phase of inoculation, starting from May 1, leading to a greater demand. "The US first and foremost is engaged in an ambitious and successful effort to vaccinate the American people", he said.

During the phone call, the US also said the US Development Finance Corporation (DFC) is funding a substantial expansion of manufacturing capability for BioE, the vaccine manufacturer in India, enabling BioE to ramp up to produce at least 1 billion doses of Covid-19 vaccines by the end of 2022.

Meanwhile, German Chancellor Angela Merkel was critical of the slowdown of vaccine exports from India against the backdrop of a record spike in Coronavirus infections in the country.

As for the rest of the world, "We will, of course, always do as much as we can, consistent with our first obligation", he said.

US State Department spokeswoman, Jalina Porter on Friday (local time) during a press briefing reaffirmed that US will work closely with India to facilitate movement of essential supplies during COVID-19 surge.

He cited the USA rejoining the World Health Organisation and Washington's contribution of $2 billion to the COVAX facility that provides vaccines to developing countries and the promise of $2 billion more to it.

Sullivan wrote on Twitter, "The deeply concerned by the severe COVID outbreak in India". The US government can stop the companies from exporting them.

Funeral pyres have lit up the night sky in the worst affected cities, and the country has set a new global record of 350,000 new infections a day, which experts say could be a vast undercount.

These comments of concern and support come amid growing calls to the Biden administration to send spare COVID-19 vaccines and to lift the embargo on raw materials for the vaccine.

On Sunday morning, Blinken promised to "rapidly deploy additional support to the people of India" as the country fights a deadly wave of COVID-19.

"We have to do something in the face of a humanitarian disaster", he said.

Among the global chorus was writer Salman Rushdie, who in a tweet addressed to US President Joe Biden said "the US has something like a vaccine glut".