Vaccine Maitri Diplomacy: Special flights take off for Brazil, Morocco with COVIDSHIELD vaccine in the wee hours

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coronavirus vaccine diplomacyThe deal for the vaccines was inked between the government of that country and SII which has been producing Oxford-AstraZeneca’s vaccine here in India.After sending doses of COVIDSHIELD vaccine to neighbouring country, early Friday morning commercial sales of the vaccine started. Sources have confirmed to Financial Express Online that “A flight for Brazil with 2 million doses of the vaccine left early morning at 04.15 hours, and later a flight for Morocco with 2 million doses left at 0800 am. Both special flights took off from Mumbai airport.”

As has been reported by Financial Express Online earlier, the South American nation had requested for two million doses of the AstraZeneca’s vaccine earlier this month. In fact, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro had in a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on January 8, requested to expedite the shipment of vaccine to his country. The deal for the vaccines was inked between the government of that country and SII which has been producing Oxford-AstraZeneca’s vaccine here in India.

The special with COVIDSHIELD vaccines to Brazil was earlier supposed to leave on January 16. However, this was delayed, as India wanted to give grant assistance of the vaccines to its neighbouring countries including Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Maldives, Mauritius and Seychelles.

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar had spoken to his Brazilian counterpart Ernesto Araujo and had given assurance of India’s support and confirmation that the consignment will leave soon as was planned.

After India had not given the `technical clearances’ in time for the special plane to land in Mumbai, the Brazilian leader had decided to go ahead with its vaccination programme using Chinese-developed Sinovac. This had been manufactured by the Butantan Institute locally.

Other countries have reached out to India

Exports to other countries have officially taken off on Friday and are in line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s commitment that country’s vaccine production capacities would be used for all of humanity.

According to sources, around 90 plus countries have reached out to India for the COVID-19 vaccines. Several African and Latin American and Carribean nations, South Africa, Saudi Arabia among others are waiting for the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine being made here in India by Serum Institute of India (SII).

A top Bolivian diplomat has confirmed to Financial Express Online that, “the government of Bolivia has also signed a contract with SII for the supply of Oxford-AstraZeneca. These doses are expected to arrive in the country by April.” Meanwhile, according to reports, Bolivia also has a deal with Russia for purchasing around 5 million Sputnik V vaccine doses.

And, India provides training too

Two days — January 19-20, Healthcare Personnel from 13 Countries were trained by India in administering the COVID vaccines.

Countries including Brazil, Oman, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Bahrain, Brazil, Mauritius, Morocco, Oman, Seychelles and Sri Lanka. And, national and provincial- level Government officials, cold chain officials, too were in the training. Partners from WHO and UNICEF participated in the training.

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