India has come a long way since the first novel-Coronavirus case was detected in Kerala. Today, almost one year later, the number of cases seems to be on the decline and the vaccines are also being administered in a phased manner.
India is driving the world’s largest vaccination programme, in which 1.3 billion are looking to be vaccinated. Just 12 days into the new year, PM Modi said, 2.3 million healthcare workers have already received the vaccine. By July 2021 India plans to have 300 million people vaccinated.
The nation is also running an initiative called ‘Vaccine Maitri,’ (Vaccine Friendship), which was launched on 20 January 2021, wherein India is extending support to neighboring countries like Nepal, The Maldives, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Brazil, and even Seychelles. India has already donated 5 million vaccines to its neighbours including 1.5 lakh doses to Bhutan, 20 lakh doses to Bangladesh, and 10 lakh doses to Nepal.
Here’s what you should know
- India is looking to ship almost 10 million vaccines under the Vaccine Maitri initiative, of which almost 4.9 million doses of vaccines are being sent as ‘gifts’ to neighbouring countries.
- In this moment of global pandemic, India has assisted more than 150 countries with urgent health and medical supplies. This has also drawn the attention of the United Nations Chief, Antonio Guterres, who praised this move.
- The national capital, New Delhi, has also pledged 15 million dollars for GAVI, the vaccine alliance, and operationalised the COVID-19 emergency fund for its neighbours with an initial contribution of 10 million dollars.
- India has also airlifted more than 6 million COVID-19 vaccine doses to nine countries in phase-1.
- Developing nations like South Africa, Kenya, and Nigeria are also hopeful to be assisted by India during this crisis. Commercial agreements have been signed with these countries for the dispatch of the vaccines.
- One of the key reasons why there is a demand for the Indian made vaccines is the price point at which it is being offered. While the Moderna vaccine is said to cost $30, Sputnik V is priced at $10 and the Covidshield vaccine is at $6.
- Earlier this week, 5 lakh doses of Covishield vaccines were dispatched to Sri Lanka.
- Even before the launch of the vaccine maitri initiative, India has been supplying 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.
- Heads of various countries have been tweeting about this initiative and Brazil’s President Jair M Bolsonaro, in a tweet, says, ‘Brazil feels honoured to have a great partner to overcome a global obstacle by joining efforts. Thank you for assisting us with the vaccine exports from India to Brazil.’
- India being one of the largest suppliers of various vaccinations over the course of time, it has earned the title of being the pharmacy of the world.
(Edited by Yoshita Rao)