Brazil to Send Flight for 2 Mn Vials of India’s COVID-19 Vaccine
The vaccine is set to arrive in Brazil’s Galeao Airport from Mumbai by Saturday.
Brazil’s Health Ministry announced on Thursday, 14 January that preparations to import two million vials of COVID-19 vaccines from India with a special flight are already underway. The shipment of Oxford-AstraZeneca developed Covishield vaccine that has been manufactured by the Pune-based Serum Institute of India is set to arrive in Brazil’s Galeao Airport by Saturday.
“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, through the embassy in New Delhi, has made arrangements with the Indian authorities and the Serum Institute of India, following up on a letter from President Jair Bolsonaro to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, dated January 8, and is providing assistance regarding international travel issues and procedures. The Ministry of Defense will contribute to the security of land transportation to the states,” the Ministry said, as first reported by ANI.
The vaccine after receiving approval by Brazil’s National Health Surveillance Agency (Anvisa) will be distributed to all the states within five days and free of charge, added the statement.
The ministry talked about strong relations with India in saying, “The successful acquisition of doses from the British parent company and the Indian vaccine producer demonstrates the excellent state of Brazil-United Kingdom and Brazil-India relations and the strength of the strategic relationships we have with both countries,” quoted ANI.
"The Azul airlines flight will be anticipated and will leave Viracopos Airport, in Campinas (SP), at 1.00 pm (Brazil local time) this Thursday (14 January) for Recife (PE), from where it will depart directly to the Indian city of Mumbai. The vaccines are scheduled to arrive in Brazil next Saturday (16 January) at Galeao Airport (RJ)," said the Health Ministry statement, quoted ANI.
The flight is equipped with a “special temperature-control system” to store the vaccines, reported Indian Express. The Airbus A330neo will be equipped with “specific containers” to regulate the temperature to what the manufacturer of the vaccine vials’ recommends.
Brazil President’s Letter to PM Modi
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 8 January asking for expedited delivery of Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine supplies that are being manufactured by Serum Institute, India to combat the steadily rising COVID-19 cases in Brazil.
Brazil has reported 83.26 lakh coronavirus cases, with more than two lakh deaths according to the Worldometer dashboard.
"To enable the immediate implementation of our National Immunization Programme, I would appreciate...the supply to Brazil, with the possible urgency and without jeopardising the Indian vaccination programme, of 2 million doses," wrote Bolsonaro, reported Reuters.
“There is no point storing more vaccines beyond India’s current capacity. So, the vaccine export to other countries doesn’t affect India’s vaccination plans,” added the letter.
‘Too Early to Say’: India on Brazil’s Vaccine Delivery
However, Indian foreign ministry spokesman Anurag Srivastava on Thursday said that it was too soon to respond on India exporting coronavirus vaccines when the country’s inoculation drive begins on Saturday, according to Mint .
“The vaccination process is just starting in India. It is too early to give a specific response on supplies to other countries as we are still assessing production schedules and delivery and we will take decisions in this regard in due course. This may take some time," Srivastava said, as quoted by Mint.
(With inputs from Reuters, Indian Express, Mint and ANI)
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