India has allowed commercial export of Covid-19 vaccines being manufactured in the country from Friday. Brazil and Morocco will be the first two countries that are getting the commercial contracted supplies of 20 lakh doses each with flights leaving at 4.15 am IST and 8 am IST, respectively tomorrow.
Remember Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro had written to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi for vaccines. In a letter, he said, “Brazilian government has launched the National Immunization Program against Covid-19” and “Among the vaccines selected by the Brazilian government, are those from the Indian company Bharat Biotech International Limited (Covaxin) and AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford (Covishield), also produced by the Serum Institute of India.”
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The commercial supply of vaccines to South Africa, Saudi Arabia, Bangladesh, and Myanmar is expected to commence shortly. Both Myanmar and Bangladesh have contracted 30 million doses of vaccines from India. South African govt earlier this week announced that they will be getting one million doses of Covid-19 vaccine in January and 500,000 doses in February of the Oxford University-Astrazeneca vaccine–Covshield from Pune-based Serum Institute of India.
Commercial supplies begin 7 days after India began its own countrywide vaccination program in which almost 10 lakh Indians have been vaccinated. On Wednesday began gifting made in India vaccines to countries in the region as part of its neighbourhood-first policy. Seven countries are getting vaccines under what is being referred to as New Delhi’s “Vaccine diplomacy”. These are Bhutan (150,000), Maldives (100,000), Nepal (One million), Bangladesh (2 million), Myanmar (1.5 M), Seychelles (50,000), Mauritius (100,000), the last 3 countries will get on Friday.
Regulatory approvals from Afghanistan and Sri Lanka is awaited even as officials from both sides are in touch for India’s vaccine.
And not just vaccine, India is also providing training. For 2 days, from 19th to 20th India trained Healthcare Personnel of 13 countries in administering Covid-19 vaccines. These were Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Bahrain, Brazil, Mauritius, Morocco, Oman, Seychelles and Sri Lanka. The national and provincial- level Government officials, cold chain officials, and partners from WHO and UNICEF participated.
Amid the pandemic, India reaffirmed its position as the pharma capital of the world by supplying medicines such as HCQ and paracetamol to 150 countries. 60% of global vaccines are produced in India, with the World health organization sourcing 70% of its essential immunization vaccine from the country. India is the largest supplier of DPT, BCG and measles vaccines globally.
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