After Thousands Die Unnecessarily, the U.S. Agrees to Let India Have Its AstraZeneca Vaccines

But only after the company jumps over more regulatory hurdles.


The Biden administration announced Sunday that it will send assistance to India, a country whose COVID-19 daily case rate has exceeded a record-setting 350,000 cases. Reports from the country are horrifying: Many hospitals' oxygen supply has all but run out, and they are being forced to turn away dying patients.

"The United States has identified sources of specific raw material urgently required for Indian manufacture of the Covishield vaccine that will immediately be made available for India," said National Security Council spokesperson Emily Horne in a press release Sunday. "The U.S. Development Finance Corporation (DFC) is funding a substantial expansion of manufacturing capability for BioE, the vaccine manufacturer in India, enabling BioE to ramp up to produce at least 1 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines by the end of 2022."

Now the administration is adding an item to that list. Millions of AstraZeneca doses are currently collecting dust in the U.S. because the regulatory state has refused to approve the vaccine. "The U.S. will begin sharing its entire pipeline of vaccines from AstraZeneca once the COVID-19 vaccine clear federal safety reviews," the Associated Press reported today after President Joe Biden spoke with Prime Minister Narendra Modi by phone. Up to 60 million doses were expected to head that way.

It's good to see them finally put to use. But that still raises the question: Why has it taken so long for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to approve this vaccine, which has already been deployed in over 70 other countries? Indeed, the vaccine still hasn't been approved here—and India won't get those shots until it is, even though the majority of the developed world accomplished this months ago.

The United Kingdom and many countries in the European Union rolled out AstraZeneca in December. But the FDA demanded to see results from a large-scale trial, even though the vaccine had already been shown to work around the globe. The company did just that on March 24, reporting that the shots are 76 percent effective at stopping symptomatic cases of COVID-19. And yet those life-saving doses have continued to pile up in the U.S. without going into people's arms, because AstraZeneca has not yet finished jumping through the many hurdles required by the FDA's application process.

"This is nearly indefensible," wrote Reason's Eric Boehm last month. "On the long list of ways that the government has screwed up the COVID-19 response, hoarding lifesaving vaccines that it won't allow to be used deserves a place at or near the very top."

Public perception of the vaccine and its approval received no favors in mid-March, just days before the company released their Phase III trial data, when a group of European countries temporarily barred the use of the vaccine over a rare blood-clotting side effect. Seventeen million people had received the vaccine, and 37 developed the reaction—a 0.0002 percent chance. Regulators realized their error and reversed course, noting that the chance of death from the coronavirus is perhaps a more pressing concern.

That didn't come without a cost. "Earlier this month, a Harris Poll in France found that just 43 percent of respondents trusted the AZ vaccine," reported Reason's Ron Bailey in March. "A new poll by the Elabe Institute, published Tuesday, shows only 20 percent of the French people trusting the vaccine."

But people in India are being killed at alarming rates. The country saw more than 2,800 COVID deaths yesterday, an enormous spike from previous levels. They do not have the luxury of being so cautious. Whether they receive the vaccine should be left up to the judgment of each individual, and they should have that choice—now.

NEXT: Marco Rubio Echoes the Chinese Tyrants He Supposedly Hates

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  1. As Koch / Reason libertarians who prioritize #ImmigrationAboveAll, we should encourage India’s entire population of 1.4 billion to relocate to the US. We certainly have enough space, and just think of all the cost-effective labor this will provide for our benefactor Charles Koch.


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      1. wow, an Add Bot responding to a Koch Conspiracy

    3. The good news is we can also assure all newcomers “EQUAL OUTCOMES” under the “Biden Socialist Dictatorship Regime, regardless of age, education, work ethic, intelligence, and current wealth.
      (“sarc” in case you can’t figure it out)

  2. I’m curious how much trust India will have in this vaccine.

    1. You’re not supposed to notice that cases took off right after the vaccination drive kicked into gear.

      1. Cases took off after mask mandates were put in place.

      2. The AstraZeneca vaccine has been approved in Europe and is expected to be approved in the US soon. It is the AstraZeneca vaccine the Biden is going to share with India.

      3. So if the government is secretly trying to us all vaccinated against our interests why is the FDA dragging its feet on approval?

  3. Just for the (USA) record; none of the vaccines have been approved for general use. They are ALL being administered under an EMERGENCY use only approval. No data on long term effects. No data on children. No data on pregnant women.
    Until the government actually thinks these vaccines actually work, shown by eliminating masks and distancing for the vaccinated, I will defer to those who want to experiment with drugs.

    1. Sounds good. Now stay 6 feet away from me and wear your mask.

      1. Mind your own business. If you want to keep your distance, that’s up to you.

    2. Yawn… Now assert your anti-vaccine righteousness in relation to what India is going through.

      1. What are they going through exactly? Oh, because some idiot “journalist” decided to write hyperbolic bullshit about somesuchthousand cases?

        Never was an emergency. Still isn’t but keep virtue signalling with fucktard comments like “anti-vaccine righteousness”. Maybe think more with your head not inserted firmly up your ass (or arse for those across the pond).

        Fuck you very much.

  4. They can handle it, whitey doesn’t need to help.

  5. I guess dalmia was too busy with her CCP sponcered vip trip to Beijing to write this article.

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  7. In a country of over a billion more than the US a rate much lower than peak US rates by itself doesn’t seem to constitute an emergency by itself. If anything the lack of oxygen is proba ky the greater immediate crisis.

    1. The second wave is just starting in India. Six weeks ago there were about 12,000 or so daily cases. Now there are 350,000+. The deaths are just starting and there is already a big disconnect between the attributed deaths and excess deaths (as measured by crematoria output) – roughly 5x. So it may well be that current covid deaths in India are about 10,000 per day. And it will be going up a lot in the next few weeks. With another virus mutation that has now already reached the US.

      This is why rational people try to study an epidemic disease – before events overtake the ability to deal with them or even collect info about them. We chose to politicize it all – and as always the Third World pays the price.

      I hope we can get vaccine to them. It may be too late for them now – but we have an excess now and are near the point where we should assume that anyone who hasn’t gotten the vaccine won’t get it either. So it is reasonable to export virtually the entire stockpiles and let the vaccine-hesitant here suffer the consequences.

      1. JFree
        April.26.2021 at 8:45 pm
        “The second wave is just starting in India…”

        TDS-addled shit? Stuff you PANIC flag up your ass, stick first.
        And then do mankind (and your dog) a favor; fuck off and die.
        I won’t piss on your grave, since I’d prefer not to stand in long lines, but I’m sure your dog will.

      2. Thanks for your comment. I’m really done with libertarian Covidiots. Yes the government fucked this up royally – by getting in the way of early testing and vaccines, downplaying the threat in the early stages and spreading misinformation about effective countermeasures like masks and imposing ineffective countermeasures instead like lockdowns.

        1. If the Dotard-in-Chief hadn’t been preoccupied by an impossible impeachment, the outcome might have been very different. A pox on both of their houses!

  8. Look at Israel with the highest vaccination rate. They went from 7000 cases per day to around 160 now and are starting to report no deaths.

    We are getting there with 40% at least one dose so we should start seeing results when more people get second and more step up and roll up their sleeves.

    1. Just need a good way to separate out the effect of the vaccines from the normal seasonal decline. We saw a huge decline in cases and death about this time last year without any vaccines.
      TO be clear, I’m not trying to say the vaccines aren’t working. They seem to be as far as I can see.

      1. How do we know what is normal with something that has only been around for a year? The seasons in India, Brazil, or Israel are very different than Michigan.

        What we do know is that a virus needs only one thing to replicate and spread. It needs hosts. It cannot replicate by itself. Once there is an outbreak it goes exponential.

        Less hosts less wild virus out there.

        Sure the way a vaccine works is your immune system kicks in like a Ferrari. Your own body can kill the virus. You could in theory transmit but the odds of that drop off significantly.

        The defenses we have been using and hate are weak. The vaccines are safe and powerful.

        I understand those who feel reluctant by not wanting to be an experiment. If people knew how much of medicine was an experiment in that sense we would not have it at all.

        We are past the experiment stage. Here in the US you can get one of the two most safe and effective vaccines out there. We have a lot of it and anyone can get one.

        1. We are past the experiment stage? What fuckin’ shit are you smoking?

          “one of the two most safe and effective vaccines out there”… Based on what evidence? There is none. Mengele would be proud of you.

          1. Well, they’re safe for four months after inoculation. Isn’t that evidence enough! I think the potential benefit is worth the risk for me, and many. But to pretend that we know they’re safe, period, is ludicrous.

          2. Oh about 300,000,000 in the US and close to a billion worldwide.

            That is not an experiment.

            It is still your choice. Now watch what the rest of us do.

  9. I was told that the speed with which these vaccines were rolled out was sure to get the FDA to rethink their “first, do no harm – no matter how many people have to die as a result of your doctrinaire risk aversion” policy. That didn’t actually happen? I’m shocked!

    1. It is not new. Lots of things get pushed through when the initial results are this positive. They did all of the stages with published data. They did carefully designed placebo controlled studies.

      It happens often that studies like that are discontinued when you get highly positive results and it is no longer ethical to give placebo.

      The system worked. This still is a worldwide medical emergency. primum non nocere is not what many people think it is. If withholding the treatment is causing more harm than good then give the treatment.

      I think they were astonished at the results.

      1. It never was an emergency. Nice try, bro.

        1. Excellent analysis.

  10. Biden could have had this vaccine for US citizens but his CDC did not act on its approval even it has been approved in Europe. Now that the US has just about all that want the shot has gotten it. So there are all those 300 million shots just going to waist in US warehouses. And that will millions that are still waiting on the vaccine world wide.

    1. And he is releasing many doses of the Astra Zeneca vaccine we have in reserve. We have more than enough of the Moderna and Pfizer. So what we need is to inform those reluctant to show up and get it.

      Every adult in my family has both doses now.

      1. “Every adult in my family has both doses now.”

        Did you get a lollipop and a star on your forehead? Idiot.

        1. Not even a snoopy bandaid.

    2. *waste, though people are getting fatter due to lockdown.

  11. Of you work at a facility that processes, packages and ships essential oils does that make you an essential employee? Methinks the answer is, “essentially.”

  12. “But people in India are being killed at alarming rates. The country saw more than 2,800 COVID deaths yesterday, an enormous spike from previous levels. ”

    Killed? Nice word choice. Who killed them? Did you mean to write “died”? Fuckwit

    So 2,800 out of a population of 1,391,049,556. That percentage is so small it calculates out to scientific notation. I guess the goal post for crisis has moved a bit, eh?

  13. Just remember, over 160,000 died from the China virus in the first 100 days of the SleepyJoe regime.

    1. I though Wuflu was a hoax though.

      1. It was a hoax before the election. Then the commies stole the hoax and replaced it with pure deadly evil. If the D’s hadn’t stolen the election itself, then the commies wouldn’t have stolen the virus and it would still be a hoax.

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  15. Too much news and effort to get the vaccine reluctant to get vaccinated. Forget them and give their shot to India and anyone country that need vaccine doses.

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  17. Vital medical supplies poured into India on Tuesday as hospitals starved of oxygen supplies and beds turned away coronavirus patients, while a surge in infections pushed the death toll toward 200,000.
    Supplies from Britain, including 100 ventilators and 95 oxygen concentrators, arrived in Delhi, said Reuters partner ANI, while France was sending oxygen generators able to provide 250 patients with a year’s supply of the gas, its embassy said.

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