Top American lawmakers on Thursday welcomed the decision of the Joe Biden Administration to ship 25 million COVID-19 vaccines abroad, including India.
"I welcome the news that the Biden Administration will be sending 25 million vaccine doses to our partners abroad to help them combat their COVID-19 outbreaks, but this is an unfortunately small step forward when drastic, rapid action is needed," Indian-American Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi said.
US President Joe Biden on Thursday announced that the US will allocate 75 per cent - nearly 1.9 crore of the first tranche of 2.5 crore doses - of unused COVID-19 vaccines from its stockpile through the UN-backed COVAX global vaccine sharing programme to countries in South and Southeast Asia as well as Africa as part of his administration's framework for sharing 80 million (8 crore) vaccines globally by the end of June.
US Vice President Kamala Harris spoke to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and three other world leaders and informed them that the US will start sharing the first 25 million (2.5 crore) doses of Covid vaccines to their respective countries.
Mr Krishnamoorthi, 47, said US can put more efforts in the direction. "As coronavirus outbreaks continue to rage across the world, we've passed the time to talk about millions of doses -- we need to be talking about billions, and how we can distribute and administer them as soon as possible to save lives both abroad and in the United States," he said.
"That means dramatically expanding our vaccine production capacity into the billions, our rate of vaccine procurement, and the scale of our international partnerships to ensure that vaccines reach those who need them, and that we effectively protect ourselves in the process," he added.
Mr Krishnamoorthi said that he will be introducing a legislation next week to address these challenges and to end the pandemic across the world to prevent new variants from sparking another COVID-19 outbreak in America.
Congresswoman Yvette Clarke, the founding Co-chair of the Caribbean American Caucus and a senior member of the House Homeland Security Committee, praised Joe Biden and his administration for his announcement in this regard.
"Let me be very clear: As long as this pandemic is raging anywhere in the world, we are all still vulnerable. I am proud the United States is committed to bringing the same urgency to international vaccination efforts that we have demonstrated right here at home," she said.
"The allocation of approximately 6 million doses to the Caribbean and Latin America is a poignant step in the right direction that will dramatically stem the tide of COVID's deadly progression in the region," Ms Clarke said.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)