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US announces $41 million additional COVID19 assistance to India

In April and May, India struggled with the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic with more than 3,00,000 daily new cases. Hospitals were reeling under a shortage of medical oxygen and beds.

June 29, 2021 / 09:57 AM IST
Representative image: AP

Representative image: AP

The US has announced an additional USD 41 million assistance to help India respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and strengthen the country’s preparedness for the future health emergencies, taking the total aid to more than USD 200 million.

In April and May, India struggled with the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic with more than 3,00,000 daily new cases. Hospitals were reeling under a shortage of medical oxygen and beds.

“India came to the assistance of the United States during this country’s time of need, and now the United States stands with the people of India as they continue to battle the COVID-19 pandemic,” the US Agency for International Development said on Monday.

USAID announced an additional USD 41 million in support to help India respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and strengthen the country’s preparedness for COVID-19 and future health emergencies.

USAID's assistance will support access to COVID-19 testing, pandemic-related mental health services, timely referrals to medical services, and access to healthcare in remote areas, the independent agency of the US federal government primarily responsible for administering civilian foreign aid and development assistance said.

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COVID-19 Vaccine

Frequently Asked Questions

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How does a vaccine work?

A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.

How many types of vaccines are there?

There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.

What does it take to develop a vaccine of this kind?

Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.

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Through this additional funding, USAID will continue to partner with India to strengthen healthcare supply chains and electronic health information systems, support its vaccination efforts, and mobilize and coordinate private sector relief, it said.

USAID has contributed more than USD 200 million for India's COVID-19 relief and response efforts since the pandemic began, including more than USD 50 million in emergency supplies and training for more than 214,000 frontline health workers on infection prevention and control, benefitting more than 42 million Indians, according to a media release.

The US is providing significant emergency assistance to the hardest-hit countries in South Asia, including India and Nepal, by allocating more than USD 300 million under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, which President Joe Biden had signed on March 11.

In May, President Biden announced USD 100 million worth of COVID-19 assistance to India.

The US-India Chambers of Commerce Foundation has raised more than USD 1.2 million for coronavirus-related efforts in India.

With record-breaking fundraising, the US-India Chambers of Commerce Foundation has shipped or en route nearly 120 ventilators and over 1,000 oxygen concentrators, a release said on June 3.

Also, India will be a significant recipient of the US vaccines after Biden announced details of his administration's decision to send 25 million COVID-19 shots to countries across the globe.

India has been included in both the identified categories - direct supply to neighbours and partner countries, and under the COVAX initiative.



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PTI
first published: Jun 29, 2021 09:59 am
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