US diverting its pending orders of vaccine filters to India's manufacturing effort: White House
In a series of tweets on Monday, White House COVID-19 Supply Coordinator Tim Manning said that there's been a lot of confusion around the use of the Defense Production Act.
WASHINGTON: The United States has diverted its pending orders of vaccine filters to India's vaccine manufacturing effort as the country reels under a health crisis due to the coronavirus, a top White House official said, hoping that this will help India make more vaccines.
"Now here's what we did yesterday: we diverted our pending orders of vaccine filters to India's vaccine manufacturing effort. This will help India make more vaccines. And it's only one effort among many to help their COVID19 response (e.g. therapeutics, PPE, and oxygen)," said Tim Manning, the White House COVID-19 Supply Coordinator.
In a series of tweets on Monday, Manning said that there's been a lot of confusion around the use of the Defense Production Act as it relates to the global supply chain for COVID-19 treatment. The world has embarked on an unprecedented and historic vaccine production effort.
In an average year, the world produces around four billion vaccines for things like flu and the measles, he said.
He said that this year, the world is working to make nearly 14 billion COVID-19 vaccines in addition to those other four billion. "This is hard work and it's encouraging to see the progress the world is making. But making vaccine requires specialised materials, and there's just not enough of them," he noted.
"To make vaccine here in the US we have used the DPA to ensure we have access to all needed supplies with many US companies. DPA in these cases just means US companies must prioritise their government contracts ahead of other orders, it doesn't mean an export ban," he argued.
"DPA doesn't even mean a 'de facto' ban. Companies are able to export. In fact, companies that supply our vaccine manufacturing export their product all across the world. We are just one 'client' of the raw material companies," Manning explained. "It also doesn't create the shortages - there is just more global manufacturing happening everywhere than the suppliers can support," he said.
Manning said that a big part of his job is understanding the complexities of our global supply chain. "I monitor this every day. There are challenges of course, but our response will always work to find ways to address them. We'll continue to stand ready to help with the COVID-19 response," he said.
This is the first White House explanation of the DPA, which many said was mainly responsible for the US companies not being able to supply necessary raw materials to Indian vaccine manufacturers.