A top American civil rights leader has urged President Joe Biden to release 60 million AstraZeneca vaccine doses for India, which is battling a devastating second wave of the coronavirus pandemic. The AstraZeneca vaccine has not been approved by the US and is unlikely to be used by the Biden administration.
Biden had recently said that he intended to give AstraZeneca vaccines to other countries. At a news conference in Chicago, American civil rights activist Rev Jesse Jackson said he would speak to Biden to immediately release 60 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccines to India.
Mass level vaccination is said to be the only cure to the current public health crisis in India, he said.
"They are human beings. As the wind blows, if we don't stop it today, it'll spread around the world,” he said.
Expressing concern over the current situation in India, Rev Jackson said he will personally speak to the healthcare industry to donate oxygen concentrators and cylinders to India and follow up with the pharmaceutical giants to ensure therapeutic supplies to the country.
Other Indian Americans from the Chicago area echoed similar sentiments.
"It is everyone's duty to help India flatten this COVID-19 surge as we live in a world that cannot be separated by borders," said Dr Vijay Prabhakar, the chairman of American Association of Multiethnic Physicians.
"Based on the current projections some of the models are suggesting, there may be 1 million deaths by the end of August. As we know, that would be a tragic humanitarian crisis,” said Dr Srinivas Reddy, the trustee of Chicago Medical Society.