A crucial coronavirus vaccination campaign has been introduced by India in which two vaccines, Covishield and Covaxin, are being distributed throughout the world to frontline health staff.
India is seen as one of the world’s major suppliers of vaccines and generic drugs. India’s reputation as the “pharmacy of the world” has come within days of India launching its immunization campaign, it underlines India’s importance in the area of South Asia.
The Ministry of External Affairs announced that vaccine supplies under grant assistance to Bhutan, the Maldives, Bangladesh, Nepal, Myanmar, and Seychelles will start on Wednesday, in line with India’s pledge to use its manufacturing and distribution capability of vaccines to help the world combat Covid-19.
India will begin shipping lakhs of vaccine doses of the latest coronavirus vaccine to neighboring countries, through special aircraft as a grant.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted that India is profoundly honored to be a long-trusted collaborator in meeting the global community’s healthcare needs and India will start delivering the vaccines from Wednesday.
India is deeply honoured to be a long-trusted partner in meeting the healthcare needs of the global community. Supplies of Covid vaccines to several countries will commence tomorrow, and more will follow in the days ahead. #VaccineMaitri https://t.co/9Czfkuk8h7
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) January 19, 2021
The Ministry of External Affairs said India will steadily supply COVID-19 vaccines to neighboring countries over the weeks and months ahead while taking into account the domestic requirements. In a tweet, the MEA reported that India had received many requests from neighboring and core partner countries for the supply of Indian-made vaccines.
The MEA said in response to these requests India supplies the doses under grant assistance to Bhutan, Maldives, Bangladesh, Nepal, Myanmar, and Seychelles will commence from January 20.
Minister of External Affairs S Jaishankar tweeted that India is committed to supplying vaccines. Supplies to our neighbors will begin on January 20. The Pharmacy of the World will deliver them to resolve the COVID problem.
It is announced that as for now, Bhutan and the Maldives will be the first to acquire vaccines, followed by Bangladesh, Nepal, Myanmar, and Seychelles. Besides, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, and Mauritius will also be supplied with the vaccine after sufficient regulatory approvals are provided.
The successful launch of shipments is part of the “Neighborhood First” program of the government.
During the beginning of the pandemic crunch, India had supplied a vast number of nations with Hydroxychloroquine, Remdesivir, and Paracetamol pills, as well as diagnostic kits, ventilators, masks, gloves, and other medical supplies.
Besides, India has also given training to many neighboring countries to improve and develop their clinical capabilities under the Collaborations with Accelerating Clinical Trials (PACT) program.
The MEA said that under the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) program, several training courses have been arranged for healthcare staff of partner countries, sharing our expertise in coping with the pandemic.
The preference of the nation for Indian vaccines, namely Covishield from the Serum Institute of India (SII) developed with Oxford University and AstraZeneca, and Covaxin from Bharat Biotech is reliant on the expenditure, easier storage capacity, and geographic location.
Besides the officials said that Pakistan has neither demanded the doses nor is India currently discussing supplies to it. It has been learned that Pakistan is reluctant to prosper from India’s initiative, as New Delhi is yet to be approached by that government.
The first shipment of 1,50,000 Covishield vaccines was shipped to Bhutan on Wednesday morning. The government hopes to ship to Thimphu over 1 million doses. Bhutan’s Prime Minister Lotay Tshering said in a social media message that his government would store the vaccines for a week to carry out a mass vaccination campaign for its target population of 5,33,000 residents.
The Foreign Ministry of Bangladesh said the country would receive two million doses of Covishield, as a grant from India on its Facebook page. The post said that the special Indian flight carrying the consignment will land at Dhaka’s Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport. Besides, the health minister of Bangladesh said that he would personally receive the vaccine at the airport.