New Delhi: India has so far successfully supplied COVID-19 vaccine to more than 15 countries and more nations are in the queue at different levels for the jab under India ‘Vaccine Maitri’ initiative, a part of PM Modi’s pledge to help other countries overcome the pandemic challenges. External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said some poor countries are being supplied the vaccine on a grant basis while some nations wanted it on par with the price that the Indian Government pays to the vaccine makers. Apart from Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin, Pune-based Serum Institute of India (SII) had collaborated with AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford and developed Covishield. This vaccine has been granted emergency approval in India. Let’s take a look at India’s vaccine diplomacy in various countries.
“I think right now we have already supplied to about 15 countries [as per my recollection]. I would say there would be another about 25 countries which are at different stages in the pipeline. But what it has done is today it has put India on the map of the world,” Mr. Jaishankar told reporters.
India dispatched the first batch of six lakh COVID-19 vaccine doses to the African country of Ghana under the COVAX facility in collaboration with UNICEF, which aims to cover 92 countries under the initiative.
The doses are a part of the first batch of COVID-19 vaccine the country is acquiring through the COVID-19 Vaccine Global Access Facility (COVAX), which Ghana among nearly 92 countries have signed into.
The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on February 12 said that India has provided over 229 lakh doses of coronavirus vaccines to various countries out of which 64 lakh doses have been supplied as grant assistance and 165 lakh on commercial basis.
MEA Spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said India will continue to take forward the global vaccine supply initiative and cover more countries in a phased manner.
Consignments of coronavirus vaccine doses were supplied as gifts to Bangladesh (20 lakh), Myanmar (17 lakh), Nepal (10 lakh), Bhutan (1.5 lakh), the Maldives (1 lakh), Mauritius (1 lakh), Seychelles (50,000), Sri Lanka (5 lakh), Bahrain (1 lakh), Oman (1 lakh), Afghanistan (5 Lakhs), Barbados (1 Lakh) and Dominica (70,000), he said.
Mr. Srivastava said countries which received vaccines on commercial basis are Brazil (20 lakh), Morocco (60 lakh), Bangladesh (50 lakh), Myanmar (20 lakh), Egypt (50,000), Algeria (50,000), South Africa (10 lakh), Kuwait (2 lakh) and UAE (2 lakh).
The vaccines are even being sent to Latin American countries.
WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s commitment for supporting vaccine equity and sharing COVID-19 vaccines with over 60 countries across the world, hoping that other nations will follow his example.
In a tweet, Mr. Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organisation, said that India’s support in supplying its vaccines is helping over 60 countries to begin the vaccination process.
“Thanks India & Prime Minister @narendramodi for supporting #VaccinEquity. Your commitment to #COVAX and sharing #COVID19 vaccine doses is helping 60+ countries start vaccinating their #healthworkers and other priority groups. I hope other countries will follow your example,” he said in the tweets.