Krishnamoorthi Urges Biden, Congress to Pass NOVID Act, Expanding U.S. Global Vaccine Aid Programs
Indian American Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi is urging passage of the NOVID Act, to dramatically expand U.S. global vaccine aid programs to India and other nation. Above: The V Thalavaipuram village in Tamil Nadu, seen in Thoothukudi Aug. 5, has achieved 100 percent COVID-19 vaccination. (ANI photo)
India-West Staff Reporter
Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi, D-Ill., Aug. 6 urged Congress and President Joe Biden to pass the NOVID Act into law, after having secured the support of 116 members of Congress.
The act would dramatically expand U.S. global vaccine aid programs to India and other nations at a time when the U.S. has so far only allocated 7.5 million vaccine doses for India.
“I’m once again urging President Biden and my colleagues in Congress to come together and pass the NOVID Act into law to end this pandemic for good because, so long as outbreaks continue in any nation, the entire world faces the threat of new, vaccine-resistant variants,” Krishnamoorthi said in a press statement.
“As we approach Indian Independence Day, we need to declare our independence from COVID by creating the global partnership necessary to produce and deliver the billions of vaccines necessary to truly bring this pandemic to an end,” the Indian American congressman added. “Meeting those goals will demand the continued cooperation of the world’s leading democracies and producers of these life-saving vaccines, including the United States and India.”
Under the NOVID Act, which Krishnamoorthi and Sens. Jeff Merkley and Elizabeth Warren introduced with Rep. Pramila Jayapal, the United States would establish the Pandemic Preparedness and Response Program, which would have oversight and responsibility for the U.S. Government global health response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
PanPReP would coordinate efforts between the Department of State, USAID, CDC, FDA, BARDA, Health Resources and Services Administration, DOD, the Peace Corps, and the Department of Labor. The program would also be responsible for coordinating the U.S. Government response with international non-governmental organizations, development banks and civil society as well as foreign governments.
After the COVID-19 pandemic, the program would shift to protect against future pandemics by coordinating a global disease surveillance network to identify and stop pandemic-potential pathogens before they spread uncontrollably.
The bill would authorize spending for $34 billion: $25 billion to cover the cost of scaling manufacturing capacity and producing 8 billion vaccine doses; $8.5 billion to cover the cost of end-to-end delivery of enough vaccines to immunize 60 percent of the populations in the 92 COVAX countries; and $500 million to establish a global disease surveillance network to protect against future pandemics. We anticipate our international partners would contribute to cover additional costs, including health care workers’ salaries and medical treatment for COVID-19 patients, according to the release.