U.S. on Delay in COVID Vaccine Grant to India: ‘Legal, Regulatory Issues Need to Be Worked Out’
File photo of Airports Authority of India’s Srinagar International Airport delivering medical essentials and vaccination for frontline workers May 31, 2021. (ANI photo)
WASHINGTON – Underlining that the U.S. is eager to continue providing COVID-19 related assistance to India, the Biden administration, however, said there are legal and regulatory issues that need to be worked out for delivering COVID-19 vaccines to different countries.
Responding to an ANI question about the delay in vaccines grant to India, White House spokesperson Jen Psaki said: “There’re legal/regulatory issues that need to be worked out country by country as we’re delivering vaccines. Holdup not on this end but we’re eager to get the vaccine and continue assistance to India.”
The U.S., in June, announced that the country would purchase a ground-breaking 500 million doses of Pfizer and donate to nearly a hundred low-and middle-income countries that don’t have the vaccine.
The United States in recent weeks has donated millions of vaccines doses to countries such as Bangladesh, Bhutan and South Korea.
However, India is yet to receive vaccines from the U.S.
During the joint media address by U.S. State Secretary Antony Blinken and External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar last week in New Delhi, Jaishankar said both sides highlighted that they are now focusing on “expanding vaccines production to make it globally affordable and accessible” under the Quad framework.
“We were very appreciative of the support…I would say, really, the openness with which the Biden administration has kept these supply chains open, which has enabled us today to really scale up the vaccine numbers,” said Jaishankar.
When asked if a timeline regarding a delay in the vaccine grant came up in discussion with U.S. Secretary of State Atony Blinken during his India visit, Psaki did not divulge the details but said the U.S. is eager to continue to be partners to continue to provide assistance in form of vaccines.
“I would point you to GoI (government of India) but we are eager to continue to be partners to continue to provide assistance in form of vaccines,” the White House spokesperson said.