The ruling BJP accused the Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Wednesday of spreading misinformation on India's vaccination programme and said over 84 per cent of the vaccine doses sent abroad were part of the commercial and licensing liabilities of the two Indian manufacturers.
Addressing a virtual press conference, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) spokesperson Sambit Patra said 1.07 crore vaccine doses sent abroad were India's aid to different countries and noted that of those, 78.5 lakh were dispatched to seven neighbouring countries.
A safer neighbourhood is good for India too, he added.
More than two lakh doses were given to the UN peace-keeping force, in which over 6,600 Indian soldiers are deployed, Patra said.
Targeting Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and the AAP, he said misinformation is being spread that the Narendra Modi government has exported over 6.63 crore vaccine doses abroad, while not using those to inoculate Indians.
Sending over 5.5 crore vaccine doses abroad was the compulsion of the two Indian manufacturers as it was part of their commercial and licensing liabilities, Patra said.
Noting that the intellectual property rights over Covishield, manufactured in the country by the Serum Institute of India (SII), are with AstraZeneca, a foreign firm, he said the SII was obliged to send part of the vaccines produced by it abroad.
The SII and Bharat Biotech, which manufactures Covaxin, sent vaccine doses abroad also because of the agreement they had signed to procure raw materials for preparing the jabs, the BJP leader added.
"This misinformation is being spread that Indians were ignored and vaccines were sent abroad. In this global era, no country can exist as an island and there has to be cooperative globalisation," he said.
With Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal asking the Centre to share the vaccine formula of the two Indian manufacturers with other capable pharmaceutical companies to scale up production in the country, Patra said the SII cannot do it because it has only been given the sub-licence by AstraZeneca, which has the intellectual property rights over it.
The vaccine indigenously prepared by Bharat Biotech requires a high level of bio-safety, which only a few firms are capable of preparing, and the Centre is holding talks with them, including some public sector undertakings (PSUs), to scale up its production, he added.
All institutions are working day and night to boost vaccine production, Patra said, asking Kejriwal and other AAP leaders not to politicise the issue.
Kejriwal only looks for a formula to keep appearing on television to stay relevant while blaming others, he alleged.
The BJP leader also trashed the Delhi government's claim that it had placed orders for over 1.34 crore vaccine doses and cited its letters to say that it only talked of "planning to procure" which, he added, is different from placing an order.