By Atul Aneja, SPS Pannu
and Ateet Sharma
NEW DELHI :
NINETY-TWO countries have approached India for COVID-19 vaccines, bolstering New Delhi’s credentials as the vaccine hub of the world. Highly placed sources said that scores of countries are approaching India, as the word spreads that Indian vaccines are showing negligible side-effects, since the immunisation drive in the country began on Saturday. India is sending its domestically developed vaccines to several neighbouring countries including Nepal, Bangladesh, Myanmar. In a letter to PM Modi on Tuesday, Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit of the Dominican Republic, has also requested for inoculation, signally that the demand for Indian jabs has acquired a transcontinental appeal.
“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),” wrote Skerrit. In other parts of Latin America, Brazil, which has the second highest number of coronavirus cases in the world next only to the United States, has sent a special plane to pick up Indian vaccines from Pune.
A Brazilian plane is expected to fly the first 2 million doses of a COVID-19 vaccine purchased by the Government’s Fiocruz biomedical institute. According to a Reuters report from Sao Paulo, Health Minister Eduardo Pazuello said the documentation is ready for bringing the AstraZeneca-Oxford University vaccine being produced at the Serum Institute of India. Brazil’s Anvisa has scheduled a meeting for next Sunday to decide on the emergency use of the vaccine developed by AstraZeneca. Meanwhile the Bolivian Government had also signed a contract with India’s Serum Institute for the supply of 5 million doses of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine.
President Luis Arce said that combined with a recent deal to buy 5.2 million Sputnik V vaccine doses from Russia, Bolivia now expected to be able to inoculate all of its vaccinable population.The sources said that in tune with Prime Minister Modi’s message that India’s vaccine approach are intended to heal humanity, India would not be averse to provide vaccines to Pakistan, as part of a drive to eliminate the virus globally.