India has provided over 361 lakh doses of Covid-19 vaccine to other countries so far: MEA

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A man displays a vial of AstraZeneca's Covishield vaccine (REUTERS)A man displays a vial of AstraZeneca's Covishield vaccine (REUTERS) 2 min read . Updated: 26 Feb 2021, 07:31 AM IST Staff Writer

India has sent consignments of anti-coronavirus vaccine doses as gifts to countries such as Bangladesh, Myanmar, Nepal, Bhutan, the Maldives, Mauritius, Seychelles, Sri Lanka, Bahrain, Oman, Afghanistan, Barbados and Dominica

Around 361.94 lakh doses of anti-Covid vials have so far been sent to various countries from India, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said on Thursday.

While 67.5 lakh doses of the total vaccines have been supplied as grant assistance, 294.44 lakh on commercial basis, according to MEA spokesperson Anurag Srivastava.

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"The supply of vaccines to countries will continue in the coming weeks and months in a phased manner but it will be ensured that domestic requirements for the national vaccination programme are kept in mind," said Srivastava.

He said India has also offered locally-made vaccines to all members of the diplomatic corps and their families based in the country.

"It has been offered not only to the diplomats of countries but also to those of UN agencies and intergovernmental organisations working in India. This drive will cover all the locations where they are based," said Srivastava.

To a question on the workshop on "Covid-19 Management: Experience, Good Practices and Way Forward" with 10 neighbouring countries that was held on 18 February and addressed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Srivastava said among other things, the PM proposed a special visa scheme for doctors and nurses, a regional Air Ambulance agreement for medical contingencies, creation of a regional platform for collating, compiling and studying data about the effectiveness of Covid-19 vaccines.

The prime minister also proposed creating a regional network for promoting technology-assisted epidemiology for preventing future pandemics, he said.

Srivastava said these proposals were very well-received by the participating countries and follow-up action is being taken in consultation with ministries concerned.

India has sent consignments of anti-coronavirus vaccine doses as gifts to countries such as Bangladesh, Myanmar, Nepal, Bhutan, the Maldives, Mauritius, Seychelles, Sri Lanka, Bahrain, Oman, Afghanistan, Barbados and Dominica.

Countries that received vaccines on commercial basis include Brazil, Morocco, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Egypt, Algeria, South Africa, Kuwait and the UAE.

In a major announcement, India on 19 January said it will send vaccines under grant assistance to several countries.

India is one of the world's biggest drugmakers, and an increasing number of countries have already approached it for procuring anti-coronavirus vaccines.

Vaccine diplomacy

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar had earlier this month offered a Covid-19 vaccine to all UN peacekeepers - nearly 95,000 troops in 12 missions around the world.

"Keeping in mind the UN peacekeepers who operate in such difficult circumstances, we would like to announce today a gift of 2,00,000 doses for them. Our contribution has also supported SAARC Covid-19 Emergency Fund," he said.

Jaishankar had also called for cooperation within the framework of COVAX, which is trying to secure adequate vaccine doses for the poorest nations.

"Stop 'Vaccine nationalism'; indeed, actively encourage internationalism, he stressed. "Hoarding superfluous doses will defeat our efforts towards attaining collective health security," the minister said.

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