At a time when India has started its own vaccination drive (said to be largest in the world) against COVID-19 infection, the country has stepped up equally to support its neighbouring countries. On January 20 this year, India started handing out free vaccine doses to Nepal, Bangladesh, Maldives and Bhutan and in just three days, more than 3.2 million doses have been sent to these four countries. The country will also be donating more vaccine vials to Seychelles, Mauritius, Myanmar and agreements with Afghanistan and Sri Lanka are also in place.
From the looks of it, the robust vaccine manufacturing industry of India has led the country to help not only people living in India but also people living in other countries. On January 19, Indian government notified that several requests have been made for the supply of Indian manufactured vaccines from neighbouring as well as key partner countries. Therefore, in order to respond to these requests, the country started to COVID-19 vaccination which is also in line with “India’s stated commitment to use India’s vaccine production and delivery capacity to help all of humanity fight the Covid pandemic,” the government said.
It is to note that India has been sending out the vaccination developed by Oxford-AstraZeneca and is manufactured on a large scale by Serum Institute of India.
On Friday, India also sent 2 million doses of coronavirus vaccine to Brazil. As the consignment reached Brazilian borders, President Jair M Bolsonaro took to Twitter to thank Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi for vaccine export. Bolsonaro said that he is honoured to have such partnership with India that will help to overcome a global obstacle by joining efforts. “Thank you for assisting us with the vaccine exports from India to Brazil. Dhanyavaad,” Bolsonaro tweeted.
To be sure, Saudi Arabia, Morocco and South Africa are also under India’s list for commercial supplies of the COVID-19 vaccine doses. The effort has also been lauded by the United States. The South and Central Asia Bureau of the US State Department also took to Twitter and said “We applaud India’s role in global health, sharing millions of doses of COVID-19 vaccine in South Asia. India’s free shipments of vaccines began with Maldives, Bhutan, Bangladesh and Nepal and will extend to others.”
The World Health Organisation also appreciation Indian effort to send out vaccines. “Thank you, India & Prime Minister Narendra Modi for your continued support to global COVID-19 response. Only if we act together, including sharing of knowledge, can we stop this virus and save lives and livelihoods,” said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of WHO.
Meanwhile, back in India, more than 7.86 lakh healthcare workers so far, have been vaccinated among the 3 crore target set by the government in the first phase of vaccination drive.