Officials brief US lawmakers on COVID-19 assistance to India

WASHINGTON, May 15: An interagency team of officials has briefed US lawmakers on America’s COVID-19 assistance to India who then urged the Biden administration to make the military available to bring additional urgent medical supply donations to the country.
“I appreciate the Biden administration sending so many individuals to brief us on the COVID-19 situation in India,” Congressman Brad Sherman, Democratic Chair of the Congressional India Caucus, said a day after the briefing.
The officials were from the State Department, US Agency for International Development (USAID), Health and Human Services (HHS), and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
The meeting was co-hosted by Republican Co-Chair Congressman Steve Chabot.
“As Democratic chair of the Congressional India Caucus, I have made India’s need for additional assistance and relief clear, and I look forward to working with the administration and my colleagues to get relief and donations delivered to the people of India in an efficient, direct, and timely manner,” Sherman said.
“As the United States seeks to help India fight its second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, I appreciate the administration’s willingness to brief the India Caucus on its efforts,” Congressman Chabot said
“The scope of the crisis facing India is truly daunting, and the United States must continue to help. As a Caucus, we will continue to work with the administration and key stakeholders within the Indian-American community to ensure that American support and resources reach India in its time of need,” he added.
During the meeting, Sherman raised the issue of the lack of studies to determine whether a lower dosage of certain vaccines would provide adequate immunity, particularly for those under the age of 55.
He also urged USAID to make the US military available for flights to bring additional urgent medical supply donations to India, a media statement said.
Officials informed Members of the Congressional India Caucus of current US assistance efforts, including the six planes in as many days that provided urgent US relief to India.
“We were also informed of USAID’s delivery of 440 oxygen cylinders and regulators, generously donated by the state of California. The briefers also provided the members with critical information for constituents who want to assist India with donations through government means, and the ways constituents can ensure such donations are effectively delivered to those in need,” the statement said. (PTI)