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Vaccine Maitri: India supplies 60 mn doses to 70 countries

Vaccine Maitri: India supplies 60 mn doses to 70 countries

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Virendra Pandit 

New Delhi: By supplying nearly 60 million doses of Made-in-India vaccines to 70 countries since January 20, as part of the global fight against the Covid-19 pandemic, New Delhi has scripted a new narrative in making friends across the planet.

The Vaccine Maitri (Vaccine Friendship) campaign, launched as a major diplomatic move by the NDA government to win friends overseas commenced with India dispatching 1.50 lakh doses to Bhutan on January 20, six days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi unveiled the world’s largest vaccination drive on January 14.

This week, India also decided to dispatch 45 million doses to Pakistan, expected to be delivered by June 2021.

In the first phase of India’ domestic vaccination programme, nearly three million frontline pandemic warriors, including healthcare professionals, were vaccinated. In the second phase, launched on March 1, around 30 lakh senior citizens above the age of 60 years and those aged over 45 years with certified co-morbidities have been vaccinated so far.

Minister of External Affairs V. Muraleedharan, told the Lok Sabha that vaccine doses are being provided under three categories: grants, commercial sales by the manufacturers, and through the GAVI’s COVAX facilities.

He said overseas supplies are being done after assessing domestic production, requirements of the nation’s own massive vaccination programme and the requests received from abroad for the Made-in-India vaccines.

He said India’s vaccine supply to the rest of the world crossed 58.53 million doses until March 11. This included the commercial sale of 33.96 million doses to 24 countries that opted for it.

Of the importing countries, eight made commercial purchases ranging between 1 million and 7 million doses. Bangladesh and Morocco bought 7 million doses each, followed by the United Kingdom and Brazil at 5 million and 4 million doses, respectively.

Neighbouring countries like Bangladesh, Nepal, Myanmar and Sri Lanka, which had received vaccines under the grant mode of the Government of India, also bought additional vaccines from India to accelerate the vaccination programme.

Additionally, India has supplied 100,000 doses to the United Nations’ health workers. Also, 36 countries received nearly 8.07 million doses of the vaccine under the grant mode.

Beginning with 20,000 doses to some smaller nations, the supply went up to a maximum of 2 million doses under the grant mode, officials said.

While 19 nations got doses ranging from 20,000 to 80,000 under this mode, 14 nations got vaccine doses ranging between 100,000 and 500,000. Bangladesh (2 million), Myanmar (1.7 mn) and Nepal (1 mn) were among the countries getting doses under the grant mode.

Around 16.48 million doses of Made-in-India Covid-19 vaccines were supplied to 29 countries till March 11 under the COVAX mode.

The Covid-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX) was set up to coordinate international resources for providing equitable access of pandemic diagnostics, treatments, and vaccines. This is a global initiative launched by UNICEF, the Global Alliance for Vaccination and Immunization (GAVI), World Health Organization (WHO), and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), according to reports.

Some African nations also benefited under COVAX. They included Nigeria (3.93 mn doses), followed by Ethiopia (2.18 mn), Congo (1.71 mn), and Kenya (1.02 mn).

Besides, seven countries got vaccine doses up to 100,000, and 17 nations got between 100,000 and 864,000 doses.

Muraleedharan told Parliament that the supplies of vaccines will continue in a phased manner, depending on the production and needs of the national vaccination programme.



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