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NEW DELHI : While India is a priority for US President Joe Biden’s administration for covid-19 aid due to the massive surge seen in the country amid a second wave, there is no update on the allocation of donation of vaccines to the country, a US government official said on Wednesday.

“Given the surge there, India has been a major priority for us. We have delivered $100 million in emergency assistance (that has been) mobilized with the American private sector," said Gayle Smith, the US state department coordinator for global covid response and health security, at a press conference.

However, Smith declined to comment on the allocation of 80 million doses that are being distributed as announced by the US government. Earlier this week, Biden announced that the country would be donating 20 million doses of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, over and above the 60 million doses of AstraZeneca’s vaccines that were to be distributed by the government.

While the messenger RNA vaccines by Pfizer and Moderna have received the US Food and Drug Administration’s emergency use authorisation, a decision from the US regulator on AstraZeneca’s vaccine, which the Anglo-Swedish firm developed with University of Oxford, is still awaited.

She said that the distribution of vaccines will depend on the vaccine coverage and other situations in countries at that time and would also be done in collaboration with the World Health Organization’s Covax facility.

Smith’s press conference comes two days after the WHO and UNICEF spoke about the missed targets for the Covax facility, which is aimed at equitable access to covid-19 vaccines for low- and middle-income countries. So far, nearly 65 million doses of covid-19 vaccines have been delivered under Covax, much lower than the 170 million targeted at this time.

Unlike former US president Donald Trump’s administration, Biden has been more actively involved with the Covax facility and has already donated $2 billion. Biden’s administration has also earlier this month announced its support to India’s and South Africa’s joint proposal at the World Trade Organization for a temporary patent waiver under Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) agreement for vaccines.

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