India to supply Covid-19 vaccines to six key partner nations from tomorrow
The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) Tuesday announced that India will be supplying Covid-19 vaccines to its neighbouring and key partner countries from January 20.
Countries including Bhutan, Maldives, Bangladesh, Nepal, Myanmar and Seychelles will be the first recipient countries to get the vaccines 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.
“This will be calibrated against domestic requirements and international demand and obligations, including under GAVI’s Covax facility to developing countries,” the ministry said.
The announcement comes hours after it was reported that the Maldives will become the first country to receive the Covid-19 vaccine (Covishield) from India. The consignment is set to land at 2 pm at Velana International Airport, Malé via an Air India flight.
“It reaffirms India’s reputation as the first responder in any emergency situation,” a source familiar with the development had said.
The Maldives is the largest Covid-19 assistance recipient in India’s neighbourhood including medicine supply, food supply, medical team, training and financial assistance of $250 million.
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.
While Oxford-AstraZeneca’s Covishield is being manufactured by the Serum Institute, and the Covaxin is being produced by Bharat Biotech.
PM Modi gets SOS message for Covid vaccines from Dominica
With India flying the much-needed Covid 19 vaccine to Bhutan and Maldives today, Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit of Dominica has written to PM Narendra Modi to seek Covid vaccines to shield his citizens from the coronavirus disease.
In a letter to PM Modi on Tuesday, PM Skerrit wrote: “As we enter 2021 and persevere in our fight against Covid-19, Dominica’s population of 72,100 is in urgent need of enough doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine. I, therefore, request, with great humility and respect, that you assist us by donating the doses we need to make our population safe (optimally 70,000 first and second doses).”
PM Modi has already tweeted that India is committed to meeting the health care needs of the global community. External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar has said India, the pharmacy of the world, will deliver vaccines to overcome the pandemic challenges.
In his letter, PM Skerrit said: “I draw your kind attention to the enormous challenge faced by our people in obtaining a vaccine for Covid-19. Notwithstanding the pledge by Oxford-AstraZeneca to provide more than half of its doses to the world’s developing nations, as it currently stands, the large number of Dominicans will not be able to obtain a vaccine for a very long time. We are a small island developing nation, and are unable to compete with larger nations with greater demand for vaccines and more funds with which to pay for it.”
He reminded PM Narendra Modi that his country has often been the fortunate recipient of assistance from India. “In 2017, in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, the Government of India graciously provided USD 100,000 for immediate relief, as well as a further USD 1 million for the rebuilding of essential infrastructure. In 2016, India also provided medicine for Dominicans as part of a grant in aid scheme. We hope now to again be able to rely on your generosity,” the letter added.
EXCLUSIVE-India's Serum to sell AstraZeneca vaccine to Bangladesh at $4/dose
DHAKA/NEW DELHI, Jan 11 (Reuters) - Serum Institute of India will sell the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine to Bangladesh at $4 a dose, three sources with knowledge of the mater told Reuters, about 47% more than India will pay for its inoculation campaign.
The pricing for Bangladesh, the world’s eighth-most populous country, provides a first glimpse of what it will cost other low- and middle-income countries that are seeking to secure the vaccine developed by British drugmaker AstraZeneca with Oxford University.
Bangladesh, a country of more than 160 million people, in November signed a preliminary agreement to buy 30 million doses of the shot from Serum - the world’s biggest vaccine maker by volume.
A Bangladeshi government official told reporters on Monday that the first batch of the vaccine, which Serum calls COVISHIELD, should arrive in the country by Jan. 25 so that inoculation can start early next month.
One of the sources said the price for Bangladesh would “eventually average out to $3” per dose, without giving details. All the sources declined to be named ahead of an expected official announcement by the Bangladeshi government.
Bangladesh’s health minister and the health secretary did not answer calls to their mobile phones late in the day.
Serum, which has stockpiled 50 million doses of the vaccine in India, has signed an initial deal to sell 11 million of the shots to the Indian government for 200 rupees ($2.72) per dose.
The rate for India is lower given the massive demand for vaccines in the country of 1.35 billion. Indian regulators have already approved COVISHIELD for emergency use.
Serum has partnered with AstraZeneca, the Gates Foundation and the Gavi vaccine alliance to produce more than a billion doses of the vaccine for supply to lower-income countries. Brazil is expecting at least 2 million doses from Serum.
Bangladesh has so far reported 523,302 COVID-19 cases, including 7,803 deaths. ($1 = 73.4720 Indian rupees)
Serum Institute of India will sell the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine to Bangladesh at $4 a dose, three sources with knowledge of the mater told Reuters, about 47% more than India will pay for its inoculation campaign.