India to supply COVID vaccines to 6 countries

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New Delhi: India on Tuesday announced that it will send COVID-19 vaccines under grant assistance to Bhutan, Maldives, Bangladesh, Nepal, Myanmar and Seychelles from Wednesday and supplies to Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and Mauritius will commence after confirmation of necessary regulatory clearances.

It is learnt that 1,50,000 doses of Covishield vaccine, manufactured by the Serum Institute of India (SII), will reach Bhutanese capital Thimphu, while another consignment of 1,00,000 doses will be sent to Maldives on Wednesday, and these two countries will be the first ones to receive India’s “gift”.

“India is deeply honoured to be a long-trusted partner in meeting the healthcare needs of the global community. Supplies of COVID vaccines to several countries will commence tomorrow, and more will follow in the days ahead. #VaccineMaitri,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Twitter.  India is one of the world’s biggest drug makers, and an increasing number of countries have already approached it for procuring the coronavirus vaccines.

The Ministry of External Affairs said India will supply COVID-19 vaccines to partner countries over the coming weeks and months in a phased manner keeping in view the domestic requirements. In a statement, the MEA said India has received several requests for the supply of Indian-manufactured vaccines from neighbouring and key partner countries.

“In response to these requests, and in keeping with India’s stated commitment to use India’s vaccine production and delivery capacity to help all of humanity fight the COVID pandemic, supplies under grant assistance to Bhutan, Maldives, Bangladesh, Nepal, Myanmar and Seychelles will begin from January 20,” it said. “In respect of Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and Mauritius, we are awaiting their confirmation of necessary regulatory clearances,” it added.

The MEA said prior to the delivery of vaccines, a training programme covering administrative and operational aspects is being conducted on January 19-20 for immunisation managers, cold chain officers, communication officers and data managers of the recipient countries, both at national and provincial levels.

India has already rolled out a massive coronavirus vaccination drive under which two vaccines, Covishield and Covaxin, are being administered to frontline health workers across the country.

Fairly low adverse events of 0.18%, says government

New Delhi: Of the total people vaccinated against COVID-19 so far, the government on Tuesday said 0.18 per cent were adverse events following immunisation, while 0.002 per cent had to be hospitalised, which is fairly low.

Urging healthcare workers not to hesitate to get the COVID-19 vaccine, the Centre said it was their societal responsibility to get inoculated.  

Addressing a press conference, NITI Aayog member (Health) V K Paul said concerns about adverse effects and serious problems post immunisation, as of now, seem to be unfounded, negligible and insignificant, and stressed that both the vaccines – Covishield and Covaxin – are safe. PTI