Yuva - India

Adar Poonawalla urges US to lift ban on Raw Materials, White House silent

Amid the surge of COVID-19 cases in India and shortage of vaccines on 16th April, Adar Poonawalla Urged United States President, Joe Biden to lift the ban on certain raw materials required in the manufacturing of vaccines through tweeter. “Respected @POTUS, if we are to truly unite in beating this virus, on behalf of the vaccine industry outside the U.S., I humbly request you to lift the embargo of raw material exports out of the U.S. so that vaccine production can ramp up. Your administration has the details.” He tweeted.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki refused to comment on whether the United States will allow the export of raw materials required in manufacturing COVID-19 vaccines. At a White House briefing in Washington, DC Psaki refused to answer the question on reports, that in a virtual meeting between External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar and Secretary of State Anthony Blinken that the United States had hinted at considering the request of lifting the ban on raw materials required for manufacturing COVID-19 Vaccine.

She spoke about Kathrine Tai the United States Trade Representative’s reaction regarding a request from India and South Africa for waiver of Intellectual Property Rights for vaccines. She said “we are of course working with WTO members on the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic that includes several components whether it is four billion dollars committed to COVAX or discussions about how we can aid and assist the countries that need help the most. She also said “Our focus is on determining the most effective steps that will help get the pandemic under control. We have nothing further in terms of the next steps or a timeline, but we are considering a range of options.

The United States defence production act restricts the export of restricts export of raw material outside the United States. It seems Joe Biden has adopted America’s first policy as far as vaccines are concerned which was the policy adopted by his predecessor Donald Trump.

While speaking to India Today Adar Poonawala said “I wish I could go there and protest in the US myself to say that you are holding back critical raw material that is required for COVID-19 vaccine and so many vaccine manufacturers in India and other parts of the world.”

He further added that shortage of raw materials is a short-term problem and they will be able to on board new suppliers. He also said, the Serum Institute of India won’t be importing raw materials from China due to quality issues. The Serum Institute of India is the world’s largest vaccine producer manufacturing 60-70 million COVID vaccines per month. Last month during the QUAD meeting it was agreed that India would manufacture 1 billion COVID-19 vaccines financially backed by the United States and Japan and the responsibility of Logistics being handled by Australia.

India had successfully contained the spread of COVID infections after the Pandemic Struck. The rise in daily cases reached its peak in reduced were September 2020 reaching almost 95000 infections being reported per day. In the following months, the daily infections were educed gradually. By January 2021 around 12000-15000 infections were being reported. The experts had anticipated the second wave. The Government of India and the Health Ministry had repeatedly urged citizens to take precautions. It was seen frequently that COVID protocols were not being followed by many. It started to seem people had taken the reduction of daily COVID cases for granted. It was found that protocols were not being followed in government offices too. A senior Marathi Journalist Bhau Torsekar visited a registrar’s office for personal work but to his shock, COVID protocols were not being followed in the government office too.

Yesterday India reported over 300000 lakh cases and over two lakh daily cases for the past six days. The country’s health system has been stretched to its limits. There are not enough hospital beds available. There is an enormous amount of shortage of medical oxygen. Yesterday Delhi High court directed Central Government to procure Oxygen at any cost. “We want you to undertake maximum procurement from all sources. Beg, borrow, steal, whatever, you have to provide (Oxygen). You have plenary sovereign power. No industry will say no to you. You must take over,” the Court said.

India cannot afford to order a complete lockdown as it will immensely pressure the recovering economy which was affected due to the pandemic. Speaking on various State Governments to impose lockdown Prime Minister Modi said “I urge the state governments to consider imposing lockdown only as of the last option. All efforts should be made to protect ourselves from lockdown. Our focus should be on micro-containment strategies.” We as citizens need to take precautions such as maintaining hygiene, wearing masks, and washing hands frequently and stay home and refrain from going out without a genuine reason. The Ministry of health affairs has given green light for starting vaccination for people above 18 years of age as this age group is more likely to contribute to the spread of infection.

Pushkar Joshi

Intern, Goa Chronicle

DISCLAIMER: This article reflects author’s view point. Goa Chronicle may or may not subscribe to views of the author

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