On Thursday, U.S. aid flights will begin arriving in India and will continue into next week. The flights to India first announced over the weekend is to one of the countries hardest hit by COVID-19.
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, reported the NY Times.
The aid will contain various supplies worth over $100 million, including oxygen, virus tests, and vaccine materials, the White House said, according to the Hill.
In response to a shortage of oxygen, 1,700 concentrators that obtain oxygen out of the air, along with cylinders used to store the oxygen, are being shipped in the country.
The U.S. aid also includes supplies necessary for India to manufacture over 20 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, as well as 15 million N95 masks, 1 million rapid tests, the White House said.
Experts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will also assist in the effort to combat the disease, reported the Hill.
The White House also announced on Monday that it is donating up to 60 million AstraZeneca vaccines to other countries, but it will be weeks before they are ready to be shipped, because the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is conducting safety checks on the doses, according to the Hill.
The increased assistance comes after pressure built on the Biden administration from members of Congress and health experts to do more for other countries.
Vaccine production has lagged behind the needs of India’s population of 1.2 billion people. Adar Poonawalla, chief executive of Serum Institute of India, a vaccine manufacturer, appealed to Mr. Biden in mid-April to “lift the embargo of raw material exports out of the U.S. so that vaccine production can ramp up,” reported the NY Times.
The Biden administration had initially resisted sending vaccine doses abroad, saying they were first focused on vaccinating Americans, but the supply picture in the U.S. has markedly improved.
“Reflecting the United States’ solidarity with India as it battles a new wave of COVID-19 cases, the United States is delivering supplies worth more than $100 million in the coming days to provide urgent relief to our partners in India,” the White House said Wednesday.
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