Brazilian President Thanks PM Modi for Exporting COVID Vaccine
India is regarded as the ‘pharmacy of the world’, because of its capacity as a producer of medicines.
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi after Brazil received the first consignment of COVID-19 vaccine from India on Saturday, 23 January.
In a tweet, Bolsonaro said “Brazil feels honoured to have a great partner to overcome a global obstacle.”
PM Modi responded to the Brazilian president by saying that India will continue to strengthen cooperation on healthcare.
Earlier this week, India’s Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla had announced that India, after having cleared commercial exports of COVID-19 vaccines, will be shipping the first consignments on Friday to Morocco and Brazil.
The Serum Institute of India is manufacturing the COVID-19 vaccine made by AstraZeneca and Oxford University.
A cargo from India has taken flight on Friday morning, to carry Brazil’s vaccine shipment.
The South African Health Ministry on Thursday, 7 January, had said that it would import 1.5 million vaccines from SII. The first shipment of 1 million doses will be delivered in January, and the remaining 500,000 doses in the second shipment in February, according to Health Minister Zweli Mkhize. South Africa will prioritise its 1.25 million frontline and healthcare workers for inoculated.
Meanwhile, India cleared grants of vaccines to Bhutan, Maldives, Bangladesh, Nepal, Mauritius and Seychelles this week as part of its vaccine diplomacy, reported Al Jazeera.
Vaccines Sent to Neighbourhood Countries
Earlier this week, India sent free supplies to countries, including Bhutan, Maldives, Bangladesh and Nepal. This is part of India’s decision to supply made-in-India COVID vaccines to its neighbouring and key partner countries.
On Wednesday, India dispatched the first consignment of 1 lakh doses of Covishield vaccines to Male in the Maldives.
India gifted 2 million doses of Covishield to Bangladesh on 20 January, reported ANI. A special flight from India will carry the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines, supplied by the Serum Institute of India.
Nepal Health Minister Hridayesh Tripathi asked India to provide one million doses of COVID-19 vaccine to Nepal, which arrived in Kathmandu on 21 January.
The first consignment of 1.5 lakh dosages of Covishield vaccine had been dispatched from Mumbai's Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport to Thimphu in Bhutan on 20 January.
In a statement, the Ministry of External Affairs said that India will continue to supply COVID-19 vaccine to partner countries keeping in view the domestic requirement of the supplies.
“Keeping in view the domestic requirements of the phased rollout, India will continue to supply COVID-19 vaccines to partner countries over the coming weeks and months in a phased manner. It will be ensured that domestic manufacturers will have adequate stocks to meet domestic requirements while supplying abroad.”
On being asked about vaccines being made available to Pakistan, the statement read, “I am not aware of any request for the supply of Indian made vaccines to Pakistan on a G2G basis or commercial basis.”
The statement added that grant assistance to Sri Lanka and Afghanistan will be undertaken after “receiving confirmation of regulatory clearances from these two countries”.
Contractual supplies are also being undertaken to Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Brazil, Morocco, Bangladesh and Myanmar, the statement added.
The Bolivian government has also signed a contract for 5 million doses of SII’s vaccine, reported IANS.
Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit of the Dominican Republic on Tuesday requested a donation of AstraZeneca-Oxford-SII’s COVID-19 vaccines for the country’s population of 72,100 people, reported IANS.
‘Pharmacy of the World’
“The pharmacy of the world will deliver to overcome the COVID challenge,” Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar posted on Twitter, referring to India’s exports of the vaccine.
India, he claims, is regarded as the ‘pharmacy of the world’, in recognition of its established capacity as a producer of medicines. The country produces over 60 percent of the global vaccine requirement.
India’s vaccine diplomacy had begun earlier in 2020, after the pandemic struck South Asian countries. India had supplied Hydroxychloroquine, Remdesivir, Paracetamol, masks, gloves, PPE suits, diagnostic kits and other medical supplies to its neighbouring countries.
(With inputs from Reuters, Al Jazeera and IANS)
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