International Observation丨The epidemic in India is urgent!

The U.S. has to "stuck its neck" on vaccine raw materials

  Xinhua News Agency, New Delhi, April 25 (Reporter Hu Xiaoming) India's recent new crown epidemic has rebounded severely, with more than 300,000 new cases in a single day for three consecutive days.

At the time of the emergency, India is also facing the crisis of suspension of vaccine production lines due to the ban on the export of vaccine raw materials from the United States, making the fight against the epidemic even more difficult.

  Analysts pointed out that the continued suspension of exports of vaccine raw materials by the United States is another example of "America First". This practice not only drags India's fight against the epidemic, but also makes the interlocking global anti-epidemic process more difficult and slow.

"Vaccine Mafia"

  According to data released by the Ministry of Health of India on the 24th, there were 346,786 newly confirmed cases and a total of 16,610,481 confirmed cases; 2,624 new deaths and a total of 189,544 deaths.

This is the third consecutive day that India has more than 300,000 new cases and more than 2,000 deaths for multiple days.

  Many experts believe that accelerating vaccination is one of the effective means to alleviate the crisis.

However, India is in trouble at the "source" of vaccine production capacity.

In April last year, the then-U.S. President Trump used the National Defense Production Act to impose export controls on raw materials for vaccine production, and the ban continues to this day.

India's new crown vaccine production relies heavily on imported raw materials, and a ban in the United States is tantamount to jamming the "neck" of India's vaccine production.

Some Indian media reported that if the United States does not provide 37 key raw materials, India's vaccine production line will stop production within a few weeks.

  Recently, Indian public opinion has condemned the United States one after another, and some news websites even called the US action a "vaccine mafia behavior."

The chief executive of India's Serum Institute, India's largest vaccine manufacturer, Adal Punawala, previously shouted to U.S. President Biden on social media, demanding that the U.S. lift the export ban on vaccine raw materials as soon as possible.

"America First" remains the same

  Facing the vaccine production crisis, Indian officials tried diplomatic efforts to get the US to lift the export ban.

Indian Foreign Minister Jaishan Sui posted on social media that he and US Secretary of State Brinken discussed on the phone including "related issues of health cooperation."

  However, India’s efforts seem to have had little effect.

US State Department spokesperson Price emphasized at a press conference a few days ago that "Americans should be fully vaccinated first."

A senior State Department official also bluntly stated that "The primary responsibility of the Biden administration is to meet the needs of Americans."

  Ironically, the leaders of the United States, Japan, India, and Australia just said last month that they are willing to invest in assisting India to produce the new crown vaccine and distribute it to other countries. Now the United States continues to restrict the export of raw materials, which is actually hindering the production of vaccines in other countries.

  Japan’s "Mainichi Shimbun" recently pointed out that the Biden administration emphasized that a certain degree of herd immunity in the United States will be officially launched before foreign aid.

"At least in terms of vaccine distribution, Biden has inherited Trump's'America First' route."

  Liu Zongyi, secretary-general of the China-South Asia Cooperation Research Center of the Shanghai Institute of International Studies, pointed out that the US ban on the export of vaccine raw materials to India will have an adverse impact on US-India cooperation. This move also bankrupted the vaccine assistance program for India reached by the US, Japan, India and Australia.

Chain reaction danger

  If the United States continues to "cut off supply" of raw materials for vaccine production, it will not only increase the difficulty of India's fight against the epidemic, but under the chain reaction, the pace of the world's fight against the epidemic will also be hindered.

  In response to the severe epidemic, the Indian government has announced that it will open the new crown vaccination to all adults over 18 years old across the country from May 1, when the demand for vaccines will inevitably increase.

In this context, whether the United States lifts the ban will be crucial for India in the coming months.

  As the largest supplier of the "New Coronary Pneumonia Vaccine Implementation Plan" led by the World Health Organization, the Serum Institute of India originally promised to supply at least 1.1 billion doses of vaccine to the plan, of which about 100 million doses will be delivered by the end of May.

At the same time, the institute has also undertaken orders for the production of vaccines such as AstraZeneca for the United Kingdom, Canada and other countries.

However, under the combination of the tight epidemic situation in India and the US export restrictions, many media reported that India has halted the export of major vaccines, and many vaccine orders will also be delayed.

  The Indian newspaper "Business" published an article on the 24th that the longer the epidemic in India lasts, the greater the risk of the virus mutating and spreading around the world.

As India stops exporting vaccines, those countries that originally hoped for vaccines from India may also have to wait longer.

  Punawala previously warned that the US ban on the export of key raw materials will hinder global vaccination efforts, and that "export bans are actually equivalent to banning (production) of vaccines."

  Samika Ravi, a researcher at the Brookings Institution, a US think tank, pointed out that restricting the supply of raw materials needed to manufacture vaccines will cause global vaccine manufacturers to delay vaccine supply and miss the anti-epidemic schedule.

(Reporter: Liu Pinran)