A consignment of around 100,000 doses of Made in India COVISHIELD (AstraZeneca) vaccines reach Nadi International Airport, Fiji. This is in line with India’s stated commitment to use vaccine production and delivery capacity available in the country to help the partner countries in the fight against global COVID pandemic.
These vaccine doses are being supplied by the government through Grant Assistance as a special gesture of friendship and solidarity with the people of Fiji.
Vaccine Friendship Initiative
So far, India has provided more than 63 million doses of vaccines to around 76 countries, including UN health peacekeepers and workers. Some of this has gone as gifts and on a commercial basis. And also through GAVI’s COVAX facility.
Top sources told Financial Express Online, “No other country has supplied countries across the globe with as many doses as India has so far. India had commenced the domestic COVID-19 vaccination programme on January 16, 2021. And, with days the external supplies commenced.” Adding, “As soon as purchase orders were placed, supplies under COVAX Facility too commenced.”
India & Fiji
For India, Fiji is an important partner for realizing the Indo-Pacific vision — that envisages a free, open and inclusive region in pursuit of progress and prosperity.
Both countries have a longstanding partnership which is based on mutual respect, cooperation and cultural ties.
Handing over of the vaccines
Acting High Commissioner of India Saifullah Khan has handed over a consignment of 100,000 doses of Covishield vaccines to Fiji’s Prime Minister Rear Admiral (Retired) Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama on Tuesday.
Who else was present?
Minister for Health and Medical Services, Ifereimi Waqainabete, Minister for Defence, National Security and Policing Inia Seruiratu, Permanent Secretary for Office of the Prime Minister, Yogesh Karan, Permanent Secretary for Health and Medical Services, James Fong, Commissioner West, Mesake Ledua, General Manager Airports Fiji Limited, Isei Tudreu and other senior Government officials.
Ban on exports?
No. India has not imposed any ban on exports of the vaccines unlike many other countries.
According to sources, “In the next few weeks and months, India will supply COVID-19 vaccines to partner countries. This will be in a phased manner. This will be done keeping in mind the domestic requirements of the phased rollout.”
“India remains committed to helping the world with vaccines, including through COVAX Facility,” the sources explained to Financial Express Online. Adding, “Based on the present manufacturing capacity available and requirements of national vaccination programmes, there could also be a requirement to calibrate the supply schedules from time to time.”
“To handle the pandemic collectively, there is a need for all the stakeholders to collaborate together and to regulate the schedules as needed,” the sources explained.
100,000 Vaccine doses reach Paraguay
The Made in India vaccine reaches South American nation Paraguay and these 100,000 doses of Covaxin vaccine from India will be used for the continued immunization against COVID-19 in the South American nation.
So far that country has reported over 2, 09,000 COVID-19 cases and according to the data available in the public domain, around 4,063 people have died due to COVID.
Vaccine doses for UNPKF
Last week, 2, 00,000 doses of vaccines left Mumbai for Copenhagen to be handed over for the United Nations Peacekeeping Force (UNPKF) worldwide.
The cargo of AstraZeneca Covishield vaccines, produced by the Serum Institute of India (SII) in Pune was sent, as India had made a commitment at the UNSC last month for providing vaccine doses for the UNPKF.
According to officials, the vaccine doses from India along with 3,00,000 doses from China would ensure that the entire force which has more than two lakh soldiers — around 91,000 active personnel and 1,11,512 uniformed personnel, will receive the requisite two doses each.
The Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations Jean-Pierre Lacroix has issued a statement from New York thanking the government of India.
India’s donation to the UNPKF will also benefit Indian soldiers — they make up one of the largest contingents of peacekeeping troops and police, with more than 5,000 men and women who are deployed in the Congo, South Sudan and Lebanon, among other countries.