Calling for India to play a major role in the global vaccination campaign, UN Chief Antonio Guterres on Thursday termed the vaccine production capacity of India as the “best asset” that the world has today.
Addressing reporters here, the UN chief said, “I know that in India there is a very high level of production of Indian developed vaccines. We are in contact with Indian institutions for that. We strongly hope that India will have all the instruments that are necessary to play a major role in making sure that a global vaccination is campaign is made possible. I think that the production capacity of India is the best asset that the world has today. I hope the world understands that it must be fully used.”
On the need to democratize access to medicines, Guterres said, “I would say a very important element on the democratization of access to medicines all over the world. I appealed once again today for the licenses to be made available in order for companies around the world to be able to produce some of the vaccines that already exist.”
The statement by the UN chief comes as India has gifted over 55 lakh doses of corona virus vaccine to neighbouring countries. Addressing a weekly briefing, External Affairs Ministry (EAM) spokesperson Anurag Srivastava on Thursday said India plans to gift vaccine doses to Oman, CARICOM countries, Nicaragua, pacific Island states.
Srivastava said New Delhi plans to supply 1 crore or 10 million vaccine doses to Africa and 10 lakh to United Nations health workers under GAVI’s (Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation) COVAX facility.
Srivastava said, “There is interest in many countries to access vaccine from India. In line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s announcement that India sees international cooperation in the fight against the pandemic. We have played the role of the first responder in the neighbourhood.”
He added, “From 20th January 2021 onwards, we have gifted over 55 lakh doses of corona virus vaccines to our neighbouring countries and in the extended neighbourhood 1.5 lakh to Bhutan, 1 lakh to Maldives, Mauritius, and Bahrain, 10 lakhs to Nepal, 20 lakhs to Bangladesh, 15 lakhs to Myanmar, 50,000 to Seychelles, 5 lakh to Sri Lanka. In the coming days, we plan to gift further quantity to Oman that is of 1 lakh doses, 5 lakh doses to CARICOM countries, 2 lakh to Nicaragua, 2 lakh doses to the Pacific island state.”
India, Srivastava said, plans to commercially export corona virus vaccine to Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Canada, Mongolia, and other countries.