Kamala Harris speaks to PM Narendra Modi, talks about US COVID-19 vaccine sharing plan

New Delhi: United States Vice President Kamala Harris spoke to Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the phone on Thursday (June 3). The call was initiated by the American side, top government sources said. During the conversation, Harris conveyed that US will begin sharing vaccines with India, along with other countries by end of June. 

“She underscored the India-US partnership,” a source confirmed with ANI. 

Vice President Harris spoke this morning to Prime Minister Modi, Mexico President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, Guatemala President Alejandro Giammattei and Prime Minister Keith Rowley, Chairman of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).

“In four separate calls, the Vice President notified each of the leaders that the Biden-Harris Administration will begin sharing the first 25 million doses of COVID vaccines to their respective countries and others, as part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s framework for sharing at least 80 million vaccines globally by the end of June,” her Senior Advisor and Chief Spokesperson Symone Sanders said.

The Vice President reiterated that the Administration’s efforts are focused on achieving broad global coverage, responding to surges and other urgent situations and public health needs, and helping as many countries as possible who requested vaccines, the spokesperson said.

The four leaders thanked her, and they agreed to continue working together to address COVID-19 and advance our mutual interests around the world, Sanders added.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi thanks US Vice President Kamala Harris for support, solidarity from the US government, businesses and the Indian diaspora. “I deeply appreciate the assurance of vaccine supplies to India as part of the US Strategy for Global Vaccine Sharing. We also discussed ongoing efforts to further strengthen India-US vaccine cooperation,” he said.

A US readout said, “Vice President notified… Biden-Harris Administration will begin sharing the first 25 million doses of COVID vaccines”. Washington will be giving out 80 million vaccines globally by the end of June. 

The US administration announced that it will donate 25 million COVID-19 doses abroad, with most of them allocated to WHO’s Covax initiative. In a fact sheet, the White House said it will donate just over 6 million with countries experiencing surges, including Canada, Mexico and India,” the sources said. 

US President Biden in a statement said, “Over 6 million will be shared directly with countries experiencing surges, those in crisis, and other partners and neighbors, including Canada, Mexico, India, and the Republic of Korea.”

“Over 30 countries will be getting vaccines in the first tranche. These vaccines will also be given to United Nations frontline workers, which will be shared directly,” he said.

The countries in Asia that will get US vaccines via COVAX are India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Maldives, Malaysia, Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand, Laos, Papua New Guinea, Taiwan & Pacific Islands.

The country-wise allocation of the vaccine doses was not made public.

According to the White House, the sharing of millions of US vaccines with other countries signals a major commitment by the US government.

 

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