Monday, August 8, 2022

Vaccine Diplomacy continues, countries purchasing Chinese vaccines turn to India

India after setting off its nationwide vaccination drive against the coronavirus has offered to supply its homegrown vaccines to various nations. Until now India has supplied vaccines to Brazil, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal and Bangladesh. Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and Mauritius are also likely to be among the beneficiaries to receive the vaccine.

Few of these countries have sought grant assistance for vaccines from India while others pursue commercial supplies for India’s AstraZeneca vaccine produced by SII. According to reports, the initial consignment of vaccines from India to a foreign land will be as a gesture of benevolence while the subsequent shipments will be commercial. 

On 20th January India supplied 2 million doses of vaccine to Bangladesh and 1 million doses to Nepal as a gift under its “neighbors first” policy. India also sent 1,50,000 doses of Covishield to Bhutan and 1,00,000 doses to Maldives on 19th. In addition, the nation has sent 2 million doses of vaccine to Brazil. The consignments sent were under a commercial contract.

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However, vaccine supply to Brazil became a point of chaos as President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil had to begin their vaccination drive with CoronaVac vaccine developed by Sinovac Life Sciences, China after a miscommunication with India. Bolsonaro on January 8 sought supply of AstraZeneca from India as they had planned to start their vaccination drive from the second week of January but since India had not rolled out vaccine domestically until that time, Brazil had to resort to the Chinese alternative. 

India has received praise from all over for its generous move of supplying vaccines to other countries. The US called India a “true friend” for gifting its homegrown vaccines to several nations. The South and Central Asia Bureau of the US State Department tweeted, “We applaud India’s role in global health, sharing millions of doses of COVID-19 vaccine in South Asia. India’s free shipments of vaccine began with Maldives, Bhutan, Bangladesh and Nepal and will extend to others,”. It added “India’s a true friend using its pharma to help the global community,”.

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