India has informed the UN Security Council that it will gradually supply vaccines to the COVAX facility of the World Health Organisation and undertake contractual supplies to various countries in a phased manner, as more than six million doses have been airlifted to nine countries under New Delhi’s “vaccine diplomacy.”
“As the largest vaccine-producing country of the world, we are fulfilling our commitment to make our vaccine production and delivery capacity available for the benefit of the entire humanity,” said K Nagaraj Naidu, India’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador.
Speaking at the UN Security Council briefing on ‘Maintenance of international peace and security: Follow-up on the implementation of resolution 2532’, Naidu said, “We have already airlifted more than six million doses to nine countries in Phase-I as grant assistance. Contractual supplies to various countries are also being undertaken in a phased manner. We will also gradually supply to the COVAX facility of the WHO.”
He added that India has also provided training to several partner countries to strengthen their clinical capabilities, as well as to enhance their capacities for vaccine administration.
Last week, COVAX had announced that, pending WHO emergency use listings, nearly 150 million doses of the AstraZeneca/Oxford candidate are anticipated to be available in the first quarter of 2021, via existing agreements with the Serum Institute of India (SII) and AstraZeneca.
Naidu told the Council that India has assisted more than 150 countries through urgent health and medical supplies. New Delhi has pledged $15 million for GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance, and operationalised the COVID-19 Emergency Fund for its neighbours with an initial contribution of $10 million.
“In the spirit of South-South cooperation, through the $150 million India-UN Development Partnership Fund, we have responded to member states’ requests for COVID-19 related assistance,” Naidu said.
Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Sri Lanka and the Maldives have received India’s COVID-19 vaccines under grant assistance in sync with its “Neighbourhood First” policy.
India has begun commercial exports of COVID-19 vaccines and sent two million doses each to Brazil and Morocco.
The MEA said that in an ongoing effort, India will continue to supply countries all over the world with vaccines.
“This will be calibrated against domestic requirements and international demand and obligations, including under GAVI’s Covax facility to developing countries,” the MEA had said in a statement.
(Edits by EP News Bureau)