Almost a month ago, American President Joe Biden agreed to provide support for manufacturing 1 billion Covid vaccines in collaboration with other QUAD nations. These vaccines, which were to be manufactured in India with support in raw material and financing from other QUAD countries (the United States, Japan, and Australia), were to be distributed to poor nations around the world, especially in Indo-Pacific.
However, one month after the meeting the Biden administration has stopped the supply of critical raw material needed to manufacture vaccines in India, the factory of the global vaccine production, especially for the poor countries.
Adar Poonawalla, the CEO of Serum Institute of India, the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer for decades, requested President Joe Biden to stop the embargo on the export of raw material.
Respected @POTUS, if we are to truly unite in beating this virus, on behalf of the vaccine industry outside the U.S., I humbly request you to lift the embargo of raw material exports out of the U.S. so that vaccine production can ramp up. Your administration has the details. 🙏🙏
— Adar Poonawalla (@adarpoonawalla) April 16, 2021
“Respected @POTUS, if we are to truly unite in beating this virus, on behalf of the vaccine industry outside the U.S., I humbly request you to lift the embargo of raw material exports out of the U.S. so that vaccine production can ramp up. Your administration has the details,” tweeted Poonawalla with folded hands emoji.
The America first approach for vaccination by the Biden administration is hurting the soft power of the United States, and even the media houses that blatantly/shamelessly support Biden have argued for providing vaccines to poor nations. “It is very much in America’s national interest not to cede a critical ‘soft power’ advantage to autocratic rivals like Russia or China… Poor countries will remember who came to their assistance, and when,” said New York Times in an editorial.
The embargo on the export of raw material would lead to the death of millions of the people in the poor nations, but the Biden administration, which started lecturing the world on human rights, global cooperation and so on from the first day it got elected, has backstabbed the poor nations and killed their hopes.
India, despite being a middle-income country, exported more than 36 crore doses of Covid vaccine and donated crores of vaccines to poor nations. On the other hand, the Biden administration has not only put an embargo on the export of raw material but allowed the big pharmaceutical companies of the United States to exploit the poor nations.
The big pharmaceutical companies fear that if raw materials are supplied to India, the Indian companies would produce crores of doses at very cheap prices and the demand for their costly and less effective vaccines will erode. Therefore, it forced the Biden administration to stop the supplies of raw material.
With the current stock of raw material, India would easily produce enough vaccines to inoculate the whole country but the exports will suffer greatly. The poor nations in Indo-Pacific and other regions like Africa, which are dependent on India, the United States or Japan for vaccines or medicines, will see thousands of people dying due to the Biden administration’s anti-humanitarian stance. This will also expose the hypocrisy of the Biden administration and, in the coming years, it will not have the moral authority to lecture any country over human rights issues.