COVID-19 vaccine supplies continue to remain one of the top priorities for the United States as Joe Biden’s administration looks to coordinate with India for restarting its vaccine exports to be better equipped against the virus.
Both the United States and India are keeping in touch regularly with each other to discuss how to best handle the pandemic going ahead and what resources will be made available in the fight against COVID-19.
According to a latest Reuters report citing a senior official in the Biden administration, the United States government is in regular touch with their Indian counterparts through bilateral and multilateral channels to discuss the supply of COVID-19 vaccines and check on the South Asian nation’s timeline for restarting vaccine exports.
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India, a country that is hailed as a “pharmacy to the world” supplies over 50% of global demand for various vaccines, 40% of generic demand in the US and 25% of all medicine in the UK, according to the Indian Pharmaceuticals Industry Report published by the India Brand Equity Foundation in July earlier this year.
India ranks 3rd in terms of pharmaceutical production by volume and 14th by value.
India, along with Australia and Japan as official members of the “Quad”, will be hosted by the United States on September 24 for the first ever in-person meeting between the four countries.
The global pandemic will be top of mind for all four leaders, especially Joe Biden, given his administration’s push for restarting India’s vaccine exports.
The visit by Prime Ministers Scott Morrison, Narendra Modi and Yoshihide Suga to the United States will coincide with the United Nations General Assembly in New York, which Biden will address on Sept. 21.
The Quad members last met in March over a virtual call and committed to joining hands against the raging pandemic.
India’s leading export status on pharma drugs meant high expectations were set for Narendra Modi and his government to deliver on.
However, the Quad’s plans on working closely on COVID-19 vaccines had to be put on hold after India, the world's largest vaccine producer, was hit by a catastrophic wave of infections.