India is being lavishly admired the worldover for its vaccine diplomacy. The government launched the vaccine drive in the month of January 15, with Covaxin and Covishied. The Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO), India’s drugs regulatory authority, has approved two vaccines — Covishield, developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University, and the COVAXIN, produced by Bharat Biotech.
About six neighbouring countries have received the vaccine supplies from India. This includes Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Mauritius, Bhutan Maldives, Bangladesh, Nepal Myanmar and Seychelles. Canada and England have also received the vaccine supplies.
The social media is full of praises and thank you messages for India.
The image of Queen Elizabeth II on the Piccadilly Lights billboard in London “thanking” Prime Minister Narendra Modi for sending Covid-19 vaccines to the UK has been widely circulated on social media. The message on the billboard reads, “Thank you PM Modi for sending us vaccines. You are a good boy”.
According to reports, the British government has placed an order of 10 million AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine doses made by the Serum Institute of India (SII). The announcement was made on 3 March.
The image is being shared on Facebook with the caption, “The country where the sun never sets for 200 years, thanks Indian PM Narendra Modi today.”
The international media has also given us rave reviews for helping other countries in time of need.
“India has emerged the surprise leader of the global vaccine diplomacy race. It has exported three times more doses than it’s given its own citizens and can spare even more without hurting its own rollout”, Eric Bellman of Wall Street Journal said in a tweet.
Yaroslav Trofimov and Bellman wrote a piece for Wall Street journal titled, “In Covid-19 Diplomacy, India Emerges as a Vaccine Superpower”.
The WSJ report said when an Indian Navy aircraft landed in the archipelago nation of Seychelles last month, the country’s foreign minister and other senior officials lined up on the tarmac to welcome its precious cargo: 50,000 doses of Indian made AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine.
The Serum Institute of India, the world’s largest vaccine factory, churns out the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine at a daily rate of about 2.5 million doses. That pace has allowed India to begin to dole out doses free of charge to neighbours. To much fanfare, planeloads have arrived in Nepal, Bangladesh, Myanmar, the Maldives, Sri Lanka, the Seychelles and Afghanistan, NYT said.
“Acting East. Acting fast,” said S. Jaishankar, India’s foreign minister, announcing the arrival of 1.5 million doses in Myanmar in a tweet.
— Dr. S. Jaishankar (@DrSJaishankar) January 20, 2021
The report said for now, the Indian government has room to donate abroad, even after months when cases soared and the economy was hobbled, and even as it has vaccinated just a tiny per cent of its 1.3 billion people. Part of the reason for a lack of backlash: the Serum Institute is producing at a faster rate than India’s inoculation programme can currently handle, leaving extras for donations and exports, it added.
China has also been making inroads with its vaccine drive to other countries. Yet India is responding with great maturity with its supplies.
As India supplies Covid vaccines to countries in South Asia, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) Friday said that the government is also undertaking contractual supplies of coronavirus vaccines to Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Brazil, Morocco, Bangladesh and Myanmar.
“Keeping in view the domestic requirements of the phased rollout, India will continue to supply COVID-19 vaccines to partner countries over the coming weeks and months in a phased manner. It will be ensured that domestic manufacturers will have adequate stocks to meet domestic requirements while supplying abroad,” MEA Spokesperson Anurag Srivastava told the media.
India has provided 361.94 lakh doses of anti-coronavirus vaccines to various countries, out of which 67.5 lakh doses have been supplied as grant assistance and 294.44 lakh on commercial basis, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said on Thursday.
Countries which received vaccines on commercial basis include Brazil, Morocco, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Egypt, Algeria, South Africa, Kuwait and the UAE.