The US House has passed a resolution recognizing the devastating impact of COVID-19 in India and expressing the sense of the House of Representatives to urgently facilitate assistance.
Congressman Brad Sherman, the Democratic Co-Chair of the House Caucus on India and India Americans, was joined by Rep. Steve Chabot in introducing the resolution last month.
"The resolution stands with the people of India as they collectively work to stem the spread of COVID-19," said Congressman Sherman. "The US must work with our partners around the world to quell the virus everywhere it persists."
"As Co-Chair of the House Caucus on India and Indian Americans, I am pleased my colleagues came together today to pass this important resolution expressing the House's support for India during this trying time," Chabot said. "India's COVID-19 second wave has caused immense suffering, both in India and among the Indian American community many of whose members have family in India. Our close ties to India and India's support for us early in the pandemic call for our support. As case rates continue to decline, we must help them finish the battle against the second wave and win the war against COVID-19 altogether."
According to an official release, the resolution recognizes the efforts of the Biden administration to deliver urgently needed medical supplies to India, and urges the delivery of additional, much needed medical supplies and in-kind medical supply donations to help India quell this devastating second wave of COVID-19.
Frequently Asked Questions
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.
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.
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.
The resolution also recognizes the efforts of Indian Americans and American firms to support India's health care system during this time of need, including the delivery of 1,000 ventilators and 25,000 oxygen concentrators to health care facilities across India.
As a senior member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, as well as the Democratic Co-Chair of the India Caucus, Congressman Sherman has worked, alongside the Republican Co-Chair Steve Chabot, to address the devastating effects of this second COVID-19 wave in India.
In April, Reps. Steve Chabot, Ro Khanna, Michael Waltz and others joined Congressman Sherman in formally requesting that the White House increase its assistance for India's battle against COVID-19. By early May, the United States had provided more than $100 million worth of medical supplies to India, including oxygen support, personal protective equipment (PPE), rapid diagnostic tests, and therapeutics. USAID also facilitated the delivery of 440 oxygen cylinders and regulators to India, donated by the State of California.
Working directly with the Indian Ambassador in Washington DC, Congressman Sherman along with Congressman Chabot led another letter to President Biden, joined by over 50 Members of Congress, again requesting the White House to further increase aid and provide specific, needed medical equipment to support India through the COVID crisis.