Nearly three-fourth of the COVID-19 vaccines that India supplied the world under its Vaccine Maitri diplomatic outreach were commercial supplies.
India has supplied 229.7 lakh doses of vaccine so far, with a majority of these, 165 lakh dosses, having been on a commercial basis. 64.7 lakh doses were given as a grant, said the ministry of external affairs spokesperson Anurag Srivastava today.
Countries like Bangladesh and Myanmar have not just received some doses as a grant, but have also made commercial purchases. Bangladesh received 20 lakh doses as grant and has purchased another 50 lakh doses. Myanmar received 17 lakh doses as grant and bought 20 lakh more. Commercial supplies have also gone to Brazil (20 lakh), Morocco (60 lakh), Egypt (50 thousand), Algeria (50 thousand), South Africa (10 lakh), Kuwait (two lakh), and UAE (2 lakh). India has gifted vaccines to Bangladesh, Myanmar, Neal, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Maldives, Mauritius, Seychelles, Bahrain, Oman, Barbados and Dominica.
Indian manufacturers are also contracted with the United Nations and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. These will directly purchase the vaccines from Indian makers to distribute in poorer countries that may not be able to easily access vaccines. Those orders are yet to start rolling out.
"We will continue to take forward the global vaccine supply initiative and cover more countries in a phased manner. In the coming weeks, vaccines will be supplied to more countries in Africa, Latin America, CARICOM and Pacific Island states,'' Srivastava said.
India is the largest vaccine manufacturer in the world, and it was expected that most of the world would get vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus through Made in India vaccines. Two vaccines—the AstraZeneca's Oxford vaccine (known as Covishield in India) and Bharat Biotech's Covaxin are well into the manufacturing stage, with nearly 15 others at various stages of trials and clearances. When these also enter the production stage, India's role in vaccinating the world will get further underscored.
It had earlier been reported that Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau had requested supplies of the vaccine from India during their recent telephone conversation. Srivastava did not elaborate on the development. He, however, mentioned that Trudeau "commended efforts of the government of India to choose the path of dialogue as befitting democracy.
He also acknowledged the responsibility of his government in "providing protection to Indian diplomatic premises and personnel in Canada". These remarks were regarding the ongoing farmers' agitation in India against the three new agriculture laws.