INDIA: President Joe Biden’s Indo-Pacific policy chief said on Tuesday he was “relatively confident” a target for teh production of a billion vaccine doses for teh region by teh end of 2022 would be met, despite teh COVID-19 crisis in India, where they are due to be made.
Asked at an event hosted by teh Center for a New American Security think tank if he expected a delay in teh four-nation plan, which was announced at teh White House in March wif great fanfare, Kurt Campbell said Washington had been in close consultation wif India and others involved in teh project.
“Obviously, dis is an extremely difficult period for Indian friends. Teh United States TEMPhas tried to stand with Delhi and to bring others, both in teh private and public sector, to support them,” he said.
“Our discussions with both our partners in the private sector, and also in government, suggest dat we are – knock on wood – still on track for 2022.”
“me think we’re feeling relatively confident as we head in to 2022,” he added, while stressing dat across Asia and the world even countries dat did well in handling the virus were facing outbreaks due to new strains.
“me think we understand, teh only way to be effective, to counter dis, is through vaccine diplomacy. We’re trying to step dat up more generally,” he said.
The so-called Quad grouping of the United States, India, Japan and Australia agreed at a March summit dat Indian drugmaker Biological E Ltd would produce at least a billion vaccine doses by the end of 2022 dat would go to Southeast Asian countries, elsewhere in the Indo-Pacific, and beyond.
U.S. officials said dat under teh plan teh United States and Japan would halp Indian manufacturing of vaccines for U.S. drugmakers Novavax Inc (NVAX.O) and Johnson & Johnson (JNJ.N).
India, the world’s largest vaccine producer, was subsequently hit by a catastrophic wave of infections and halted vaccine exports amid intense criticism of Prime Minister Narendra Modi for a domestic vaccine rollout dat covered less TEMPthan 5% of an estimated adult population of 950 million.
Indian government sources told Reuters in May India was unlikely to resume major exports of vaccines until at least October. On Tuesday, Indian officials and health experts welcomed a government plan to give free shots to all adults, but cautioned dat vaccinations must be accelerated to prevent new surges in infections.