COVID Vaccine Diplomacy! India to become world’s Corona vaccine hub, ready to supply vaccines across the globe

India is all set to deploy its capacities in the field of vaccines to help fight the global COVID-19 pandemic. (IE Image)

India, which has been a leader in supplying affordable drugs to the entire world is now all set to deploy its capacities in the field of vaccines to help fight the global COVID-19 pandemic. Besides the neighbouring countries, Brazil and South Africa too have reached out to India seeking vaccines to deal with the COVID-19 crisis in their countries. And, the envoy of Ecuador became the first envoy to participate in Phase III trial of the Bharat Biotech’s Covid-19 vaccine.

From the Ministry of External Affairs

“India has been at the forefront of the global response in the common fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, from the beginning. And, sees international cooperation in this field, particularly with its neighbours, as its duty,” says the official spokesperson of MEA, Anurag Srivastava.

As reported by Financial Express Online earlier, India has already been providing not only medicines but other essential supplies not only in the neighbourhood but globally. It has also organized training sessions for experts from the neighbouring countries including Nepal, Bangladesh, Myanmar, and the Maldives on vaccine-related issues.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had last year announced that “India’s vaccine production and delivery capacity would be used for the advantage of all humanity in fighting this crisis.”

First diplomat to participate in medical trials

Ecuador’s ambassador to India Hector Cueva Jacome along with his spouse participated in the medical trials for Bharat Biotech’s Covid-19 vaccine.

The ambassador of the South American nation participated in the Phase-III trials of Covaxin, in Haryana’s Rohtak.

He will receive the second injection in 28 days and he will have to then wait for 14 days.

What has the Vaccine maker said about the trials?

Targeted to be done on 26,000 volunteers, the Phase III human clinical trials of Covaxin began mid-November.

It is the country’s first and only Phase III efficacy study for a COVID-19 vaccine.

So far the Covaxin is being developed by Bharat Biotech in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) – National Institute of Virology (NIV).

South Africa – member country of BRICS grouping

South Africa, which is battling a second wave and a new variant of the virus, will be receiving one million COVID-19 vaccines from the Pune-based Serum Institute of India later this month. And this will be followed by an additional 500,000 doses in February.

While addressing Parliament’s portfolio committee on health, health minister Zweli Mkhize of South Africa earlier in the week announced that the imported vaccines would be used to vaccinate frontline healthcare workers. In his address, he also mentioned that the Serum Institute of India had given permission to mention India as the negotiations are going on.

Which Vaccine is it negotiating for?

The Serum Institute of India (SII) which is considered to be the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer and the drug major AstraZeneca vaccine. The two have partnered for the supply of the vaccine to India and after fulfilling the requirements here will be supplied to other countries.

This vaccine has been developed with the University of Oxford.

Sri Lanka

India has agreed to give Sri Lanka priority when supplying Covid vaccine to other countries. During his recent visit to the island nation, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar conveyed this to Sri Lanka’s President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

The Oxford COVID-19 vaccine Covishield, manufactured by the Serum Institute and indigenously developed Covaxin of Bharat Biotech, have been approved for restricted emergency use in India.

Meanwhile …

Another BRICS member country Brazil has reached out to India for vaccine shipment.

In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has asked him to expedite the shipment of the Coronavirus vaccines to his country.

He has asked for the shipment of 2 million of AstraZeneca’s vaccine doses.

In a letter the leader of the South American nation has sought these vaccines for the immediate implementation of our National Immunisation Program.

Why the urgency?

Because Fiocruz Biomedical centre, which is federally funded has announced that the active ingredients required for millions of doses of AstraZeneca’s vaccine in Brazil, are not expected to reach until the end of the month.

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