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India starts shipping Covid-19 vaccines to Africa under COVAX facility
India starts shipping Covid-19 vaccines to Africa under COVAX facility

India starts shipping Covid-19 vaccines to Africa under COVAX facility

  • Last month, the MEA announced that India plans to supply 1 crore vaccine doses to Africa and 10 lakh to UN health workers under COVAX facility
  • Serum Institute of India earlier today despatched its first batch of vaccine shots for the Covax global inoculation programme

India on Tuesday started shipping Covid-19 vaccines to Africa under the COVAX facility as Anurag Srivastava, Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson, calls it "commitment to help the world with COVID-19 vaccines."

COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access, abbreviated as COVAX, is a global initiative aimed at equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines led by the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization, the World Health Organisation (WHO), the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, and others.

After the shipment was dispatched, Srivastava tweeted: Fulfilling our commitment to help the world with COVID-19 vaccines, supplies of Made in India vaccine commence today for Africa under COVAX facility

Last month, the MEA announced that India plans to supply 1 crore or 10 million vaccine doses to Africa and 10 lakh to United Nations health workers under GAVI's COVAX facility.

Serum Institute of India earlier today despatched its first batch of vaccine shots for the Covax global inoculation programme. Later WHO South-East Asia tweeted photos of the first shipment being loaded onto a truck at Serum's manufacturing facility in Pune.

"The first batch of COVID-19 vaccines for #COVAX rolled out from @SerumInstIndia, in Pune, on Tuesday morning," WHO South East Asia tweeted.

Pune-based company is manufacturing the Oxford University/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, one of the two shots that India is using to initially vaccinate some 300 million people as part of a national inoculation drive

The company's head Adar Poonawalla on Sunday urged other countries to be "patient", saying it had been instructed to prioritize its home market over exports.

"We are trying our best," Poonawalla said.

Many low-and middle-income countries, ranging from Bangladesh to Brazil, are depending on SII's AstraZeneca vaccine. But demand is growing, including from Western countries like Canada, where Poonawalla has promised to deliver the COVISHIELD vaccine next month.

India has supplied a total of 229.7 lakh doses of coronavirus vaccine to the global community as of last week, according to the MEA.

(With inputs from agencies)

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