Fauci says the US may send unused AstraZeneca shots to India to help with its growing COVID-19 crisis

Fauci says the US may send unused AstraZeneca shots to India to help with its growing COVID-19 crisis
Dr. Anthony Fauci is pictured above on November 19, 2020.Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images
  • Dr. Fauci said Sunday that the US may send unused AstraZeneca vaccines to India.
  • The US has millions of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines in storage.
  • India on Sunday recorded a world record number of new COVID-19 cases.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, President Joe Biden's chief medical advisor, said Sunday that the US may send millions of unused AstraZeneca vaccines to India.

India reported a world-record 350,000 daily COVID-19 cases on Sunday, and its hospitals are overwhelmed. Less than 2% of the population are fully vaccinated, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Meanwhile, the US has tens of millions of AstraZeneca shots in storage. The vaccine is awaiting Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorization, and the US has already signed a deal for 300 million doses. Fauci said April 3 that the US may not need AstraZeneca's vaccine because it already has enough shots for everyone - just under 30% of Americans are fully immunized, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

On Sunday, Fauci told ABC News: "I don't want to be speaking for policy right now, but that is certainly something that is going to be actively considered," referring to sending shots to India.

"It's a terrible situation going on in India and other low and middle income countries and there is more we can do," Fauci said. "We really need to do more. We can't walk away from that."


AstraZeneca's COVID-19 shot - which is estimated to be about 76% effective at preventing symptomatic COVID-19, and is highly protective against hospitalization and death - has regulatory approval in India.

The US Chamber of Commerce said in a statement Saturday that the Biden administration should release millions of AstraZeneca vaccines in storage for shipment to India, Brazil, and other nations hard hit by the pandemic.

Public health experts, including Dr. Ashish Jha, dean of Brown University School of Public Health, also called on the US government to give excess AstraZeneca vaccines to India.

"We are sitting on 35-40 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine Americans will never use," Jha wrote on Twitter on Thursday. "Can we please give or lend them to India? Like maybe now? It'll help. A lot."

The Biden administration announced Sunday that the US would send India the raw materials needed to produce Covishield, the Indian brand name for the AstraZeneca-University of Oxford vaccine, as well as personal protective equipment, testing kits, drugs, and ventilators, but it didn't mention sending vaccines.