India is reeling through a bad phase as the second surge of coronavirus has proven to be more damaging than the first one when the covid pandemic started. On Monday itself around 2.7 lakh new covid cases were recorded in a single day with more than 1600 deaths.
Given the situation, the Indian government took some drastic step as everyone above the age of 18 is now eligible to be vaccinated in Phase-3 beginning May 1.
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As the demand for the covid vaccine will get high in the coming months, the Serum Institute of India (SII) – the producer of Covishield in India – recently requested Joe Biden’s administration to release a ban on certain raw materials required for ramping up production of COVID-19 vaccine.
It looks likes the White House has no immediate plans to reverse that decision. The White House on Monday did not respond to questions regarding SII’s request to lift the export ban.
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PTI reports that the question in this regard was asked twice – once during the morning White House briefing on COVID-19 and later during the daily news conference by White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki.
On being asked, if the US administration has any plans to address SII’s concerns, both Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and Dr. Andy Slacitt, the White House COVID-19 response senior advisor said they had “no answer”.
“I don’t I’m sorry. We could get back to you on that, I’m sure. But I don’t have anything for you right now”, Fauci said.
“Suffice to say we are taking very seriously the global threat from the pandemic. We’ve been a leader in the funding of COVAX, have done several bilateral transfers of vaccines, and are looking very hard and taking very seriously all of these complex issues, we’ll get back to you on the specifics”, Slavitt said.
When asked about India’s request being considered White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said: “Our focus is on determining the most effective steps that will help get the pandemic under control. We don’t have anything further in terms of next steps or a timeline, but we are considering a range of options” said.