Vaccine Diplomacy: These Pandemic-hit Nations Have So Far Received Covid Jabs from India

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his address to the World Economic Forum's Davos Summit on Thursday said the world would receive more vaccines from India. The nation started its mega inoculation drive about a week back with Bharat Biotech's Covaxin and the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine produced by the Serum Institute of India.

Since then, many other nations have also received the jabs from India as part the government's 'Vaccine Maitri' plan. The World Health Organisation (WHO), which has repeatedly criticised 'vaccine nationalism' by richer nations, has praised India's efforts. Dubbed as the country's embarkment upon a new kind of 'vaccine diplomacy', here is a closer look into the supply of the jabs to nations who need it.

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What Countries Has India Supplied Vaccines to So Far?

Bahrain: Bahrain on Thursday received its first delivery of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine by produced by SII. The vaccine will be free to citizens and residents of the Gulf Arab state, which on January 25 approved the Anglo-Swedish drugmaker's vaccine for emergency use, state media said, without providing the number of doses. Bahrain Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, who is also prime minister, thanked Modi "and our friends in India for working with us to secure the delivery of" the vaccine, his court said in a Twitter post.

Sri Lanka: India sent half a million free doses of coronavirus vaccine to Sri Lanka on Thursday. Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa received the Covishield vaccine from the Indian ambassador Gopal Baglay at a ceremony at Colombo airport, Gotabaya's office said in a statement. The island nation of 22 million people will begin inoculations of frontline health workers on Friday from the western province, the presidential office said.

Brazil: Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro previously thanked India for the export of Covid-19 vaccines in a unique way, by tweeting an image of Hindu god Hanuman carrying the jabs from India to Brazil. It was a reference to the Hindu epic Ramayana, wherein Hanuman carries the life-saving 'Sanjeevni plant' to save Ram's brother Lakshman's life. India had previously cleared commercial exports of COVID-19 vaccines, and the first consignments were shipped to Brazil, and Morocco on Friday last week.

Bhutan, Maldives: Bhutan and Maldives were the first two countries to receive Covid-19 vaccines sent by India in sync with its 'neighbourhood first' policy.

Bangladesh: Bangladesh on Monday received the first consignment of the 5 million doses of Covishield vaccines from India under a procurement agreement, four days after New Delhi gifted 2 million doses of the vaccine to Dhaka. A special Air India flight carrying the shots reached the Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport earlier in the day to be initially stored at a warehouse of private Beximco Pharmaceuticals Ltd ahead of their planned countrywide distribution.

Nepal: Nepal has already launched its nationwide vaccination drive with the one million doses of vaccine provided by India under grant assistance.

• Vaccines have also been flown to Seychelles, Mauritius and Myanmar.

Other Countries Awaiting Vaccines

South Africa: South African Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize said on Wednesday a million coronavirus vaccine doses will arrive from India in the country on February 1. After the arrival of the vaccine doses via Dubai, these will undergo some processes for 10 to 14 days, after which these will be distributed among provinces, he said during a virtual press conference.

Saudi Arabia: Saudi Arabia is also set to receive 3 million vaccines from SII in about a week.

• Supplies to Afghanistan will also commence after confirmation of necessary regulatory clearances.

India also recently informed the UN Security Council that it will supply vaccines to the Covax facility of the WHO and undertake contractual supplies to various countries in a phased manner. It also added that more than six million doses have been airlifted to nine countries under New Delhi’s “vaccine diplomacy.”

The country had earlier supplied hydroxychloroquine, Remdesivir and paracetamol tablets, as well as diagnostic kits, ventilators, masks, gloves and other medical supplies to a large number of countries to help them deal with the pandemic.