Quad working ‘assiduously’ to get Indian regulatory approvals for vaccine initiative: U.S. NSA Jake Sullivan

The initiative of the four Quad countries which aims to manufacture and distribute at least a billion COVID-19 vaccines for the Asia region by the end of 2022, has run into challenges.

May 20, 2022 09:41 pm | Updated May 21, 2022 11:12 am IST - WASHINGTON DC

National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan during an interaction with press in Washington. File

National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan during an interaction with press in Washington. File | Photo Credit: Reuters

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The Quad is working “ assiduously” to get Indian regulatory approvals to get the Quad Vaccine Initiative (QVI) off the ground, U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said. The initiative of the four Quad countries (India, the U.S., Australia and Japan), which aims to manufacture and distribute at least a billion COVID-19 vaccines for the Asia region by the end of 2022, has run into challenges.

The Hindu had reported that the original plan, which was launched in March 2021 and sought to supply Johnson & Johnson vaccines from the Biological E facility in Hyderabad ,has had trouble taking off due to legal indemnity issues with Indian law, safety concerns around the vaccine, lack of World Health Organisation (WHO) approvals for the facility (in the context of another vaccine, Corbevax) and lower demand for vaccines in South East Asia.

“We are working assiduously to get the necessary approvals because we think there still is the need for supply,” Mr Sullivan said aboard Air Force One en route to Anchorage, Alaska. The White House published a transcript of his press interaction. Mr Sullivan is accompanying U.S. President Joe Biden on the president’s trip to Asia - his first since he assumed office. Japanese Prime Minsiter Fumio Kishida will host Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Prime Minister Scott Morrison of Australia and Mr Biden for the second in-person Quad summit on May 24 in Tokyo.

“But in addition, we haven’t just been standing still waiting for that.,” Mr Sullivan said. “ Over the past several months, all of the Quad partners have worked together to get hundreds of millions of vaccines out into the world, many of them into Southeast Asia, and have put forward initiatives to help fund shots in arms. “

“And so, the particular effort to get an Indian manufacturer to be able to produce and disseminate these vaccines has been constrained by regulatory efforts, but that has not slowed the four Quad partners from having a very robust COVID response,” he had.

“I do think that coming out of this last COVID-19 Summit, where we got $3 billion in new commitments, that the emphasis on testing, treatment, and shots in arms, in addition to actual vaccine supply .... that is something you will see reflected in the collective efforts of the Quad going forward as well,” Mr Sullivan said.

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