Covid-19 Vaccine Diplomacy: India starts vaccine delivery to 6 countries, more to follow; will this impact domestic roll-out?

The supplies of Covid vaccines to several countries will commence on Wednesday, and more will follow in the days ahead, PM Narendra Modi had tweeted on Tuesday. (ANI image)

India has started sending Covid-19 vaccines to neighbouring countries to help them fight the prevalent Coronavirus pandemic. On Wednesday, India dispatched the first consignment of 1.5 lakh dosages of Serum Institute of India’s Covishield vaccine from Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport (BOM) to Thimphu in Bhutan. India is also dispatching 1 lakh dosages of Covishield vaccine to Malé in the Maldives from Mumbai airport.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said that India is deeply honoured to be a long-trusted partner in meeting the healthcare needs of the global community. “The Government of India has received several requests for the supply of Indian manufactured vaccines from neighbouring and key partner countries. In response to these requests, and in keeping with India’s stated commitment to use India’s vaccine production and delivery capacity to help all of the humanity fight the Covid pandemic,” the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) stated.

These countries to get Make-In-India Covid-19 vaccines

The supplies of Covid vaccines to several countries will commence on Wednesday, and more will follow in the days ahead, PM Modi had tweeted on Tuesday.

India is supplying Covid-19 vaccines to Bhutan, Maldives, Bangladesh, Nepal, Myanmar and Seychelles, scheduled to commence from today. In respect of Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and Mauritius, the Government of India is awaiting confirmation of necessary regulatory clearances from those countries.

Will this impact Covid-19 vaccines roll-out in India?

Keeping in view the domestic requirements of the phased roll-out, India will continue to supply Covid-19 vaccines to partner countries over the coming weeks and months in a phased manner, the MEA said. The MEA has assured and underlined that it will be ensured that domestic manufacturers will have adequate stocks to meet domestic requirements while supplying abroad.

Why is India supplying Covid-19 vaccines to other countries?

In 2020, India had supplied hydroxychloroquine, Remdesivir and paracetamol tablets, as well as diagnostic kits, ventilators, masks, gloves and other medical supplies to a large number of countries to cope with Covid-19 pandemic.

India has also provided training to several neighbouring countries to enhance and strengthen their clinical capabilities, under the Partnerships for Accelerating Clinical Trials (PACT) programme. Separately, several training courses have been organized for healthcare workers and administrators of partner countries under the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) programme, sharing our experience in dealing with the pandemic, the MEA stated.

Apart from these, India will continue to supply countries all over the world with Covid-19 vaccines. “This will be calibrated against domestic requirements and international demand and obligations, including under GAVI’s Covax facility to developing countries,” the MEA said.

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