Indian-American physicians appeal to White House, Congress for release of vaccines to India

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American Association of Physicians Of Indian Origin website aapiusa.org (Photo: AAPI website)

India is struggling with an unprecedented second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic with more than 400,000 daily new coronavirus cases being reported in the past few days, notes the American Association of Physicians of Indian-Origin (AAPI), appealing to the White House and the U.S. Congress to release Astra Zeneca vaccines to meet the critical shortage of medical supplies in that country, and counter the panic caused by the high morbidity.

The American Association of Physicians of Indian-Origin (AAPI), which represents nearly 100,000 Indian-origin doctors in the U.S., has been involved with various initiatives and projects to assist India over the last year.

While describing the current situation in India as “heart wrenching,” Dr. Sudhakar Jonnalagadda, president of AAPI said, “We at AAPI are determined to mobilize the massive medical help and support, that India needs at this hour.  Any further spread of such toxic material around the globe can only be apocalyptical, a specter that could be prevented now.”

“This is a crisis of the century and India has a dire healthcare situation,” Padma Shri Dr. Sudhir Parikh, senior advisor to AAPI, said. “Our letter to President Biden and U.S. Congress urges that United States send any excess vaccines to India, and remove the patent so that India can have the much-needed vaccines manufactured in the country, is critical. India also needs lots of oxygen concentrators, PPEs and other medical supplies. We appreciate President Biden for what help has been extended to India so far,” Dr. Parikh added.

“We urge the US government to release and send at least 30 million doses of the (AstraZeneca) vaccine to India,” said Dr. Sampat Shivangi, member National Advisory Council, SAMHSA, Center for National Mental Health Services, Washington DC and currently serving as AAPI’s Legislative Wing chairman.

The organization said it has been working with White House officials to have an in-person meetings with President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and other top US administration leaders.

Letters sent to 100 U.S. Senators say, “We seek your strongest effort to convince the White House to permit more vaccine raw material to be released immediately for local vaccine production, as well as increasing all types of assistance, in a catastrophe of such magnitude,” the AAPI press release said.

Dr. Sajani Shah, chair of AAPI Board of Trustees, said, “We have a team of volunteers and support and guidance of experienced leaders, who have come forward to enable and empower our efforts to curtail this crisis.”

“We request the Government of India through an emergency declaration (to) provide a blanket immunity and indemnification for volunteering physicians from the USA, providing COVID related medical care in India,” Dr. Anupama Gotimukula, president-elect of AAPI said.

“AAPI as a group and individual physicians are reaching out almost on a daily basis with doctors on ground in India,” Dr. Ravi Kolli, vice president of AAPI said.

Dr. Amit Chakrabarthy, secretary of AAPI, urged everyone to continue to support and donate at aapiusa.org.

Dr. Sathesh Kathula, treasurer of AAPI said, “In less than a week, AAPI has raised USD 2.6 million. AAPI has so far sent 1,000 oxygen concentrators and is in the process of sending another 1,000. We have tied up with UNICEF, Sewa International USA, and several other non-profit bodies to secure and coordinate efforts to reach help to the suffering in India.”

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