WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has lauded 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, 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 tweet on Thursday.
India on Wednesday 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.
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.
India, the largest drug producer in the world, is currently manufacturing two COVID-19 vaccines- Covishield and Covaxin.
While Oxford-AstraZeneca’s Covishield is being manufactured by the Serum Institute of India in Pune, Covaxin is being produced by Bharat Biotech.