Now that America is sitting on tens of millions of doses that cannot be used, it is time for a real assessment of our foreign policy. India is currently in the midst of a horrific outbreak. If the US had allowed this to continue without being prepared to offer up some assistance, it would have been a major boondoggle for Biden.
He would have been accused of going full Trump and you never go full Trump. It’s a terrible economic decision and it is even worse from an epidemiological standpoint. India is a nation with a population of over a billion people and there are many risks associated with allowing their current outbreak to continue raging.
For starters, the damage that is going to be done to their population will be hard to get past. It makes America look heartless and cold to allow such a thing to happen when we are sitting on so many additional doses. As outbreaks continue around the world, Biden and company have a lot of key decisions to make.
If they allow outbreaks to worsen, they run the risk of producing a variant that will tear through the rest of the world. Biden can spin this as an act of charity but he is merely playing defense at this point. The hot takes that would be fired off if he allowed a variant that originated in India to make its way here would be intense.
He does not want to face this sort of criticism and rightfully so. Politico has more on this developing story: “The Biden administration is preparing to send up to 60 million AstraZeneca doses to countries in need over the next several months, once a federal safety review is conducted, according to two senior Biden administration officials.
The company has produced about 10 million doses of the vaccine for the U.S. but the FDA has not yet authorized their use. The agency is still examining the doses to ensure they meet the necessary quality control standards. An additional 50 million doses are in production, one of the senior officials said…
It comes on the heels of the Biden administration’s announcement that it will send India raw materials and components to manufacture Covishield, a version of the AstraZeneca vaccine produced by the country’s Serum Institute.”
The 60 million doses do not have a specific destination as of yet but it is easy to tell where they need to be going. India should be at the front of the line here. The sad part is that even if they provided the entire cache of vaccines to India, it would only fully vaccinate 2% of the population. Right now, India is accounting for roughly half of the infections for the entire planet.
Their situation is dire and this is an understatement to end all understatements. The worst part of all is that we do not even have 60 million doses to give at the moment. We’re down to 10 million. To compound the annoyance right now, the aforementioned doses were produced in the same Baltimore plant where the Johnson and Johnson error occurred.
In other words, the quality control steps that need to be taken may not be a simple formality. The issues that took place with the Johnson and Johnson vaccines could rear their ugly head once again. Per AP News:
“About 10 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine have been produced but have yet to pass review by the FDA to “meet its expectations for product quality,” Zients said, noting the U.S. regulator is recognized as the “gold standard” for safety around the world. That process could be completed in the next several weeks. About 50 million more doses are in various stages of production and could be available to ship in May and June pending FDA sign-off.”
Here’s an idea: Biden could tell the country that he is preparing to send a significant percentage of our weekly supplies to countries like India that are in need. This might give the anti-vaccine crowd the kick in the pants that they sorely need. In the meantime, India desperately needs help. The stories and videos that are coming out of there right now are terrifying.