WHO chief lauds India’s
efforts against COVID-19

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GENEVA: World Health Organisation (WHO) chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has lauded India’s efforts in combating the COVID-19 pandemic and thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for “supporting” vaccine equity. He also urged other countries to follow India’s example.

Taking to his official Twitter handle, the WHO chief said, “Thanks, India and Prime Minister Narendra Modi for supporting vaccine equity. Your commitment to COVAX and sharing COVID-19 vaccine doses is helping 60+ countries start vaccinating their health workers and other priority groups. I hope other countries will follow your example.”

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus’ tweet has come less than a week after he urged nations and drugmakers to speed up the production and distribution of vaccines across the world.

WHO Chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus

He warned that the world may go back to “square one” if certain countries went ahead with their vaccination campaigns and left others behind in their bid to combat the pandemic.

Earlier in January, the WHO director-general praised India and PM Modi for the continued support to the global COVID-19 response against the pandemic.

“Thank you, India and Prime Minister Narendra Modi for your continued support to the global COVID-19 response. Only if we #ACTogether, including sharing of knowledge, can we stop this virus and save lives and livelihoods,” Tedros tweeted.

It should be noted that India has supplied COVID-19 vaccines to nearly 60 countries including its neighbours Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Myanmar, and Nepal.

WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has praised Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s commitment for supporting vaccine equity and sharing Covid vaccines with over 60 countries across the world, hoping that other nations will follow his example.

India on Wednesday dispatched the first batch of six lakh COVID-19 vaccine doses to the African country of Ghana under the COVAX facility in collaboration with UNICEF, which aims to cover 92 countries under the initiative.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi

The doses are a part of the first batch of COVID-19 vaccine the country is acquiring through the COVID-19 Vaccine Global Access Facility (COVAX), which Ghana among nearly 92 countries have signed into.

To this end, in a tweet, Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organisation, said that India’s support in supplying its vaccines is helping over 60 countries to begin the vaccination process.

“Thanks India & Prime Minister @narendramodi for supporting #VaccinEquity. Your commitment to #COVAX and sharing #COVID19 vaccine doses is helping 60+ countries start vaccinating their #healthworkers and other priority groups. I hope other countries will follow your example,” he said in the tweet on Thursday.

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on February 12 said that India has provided over 229 lakh doses of coronavirus vaccines to various countries out of which 64 lakh doses have been supplied as grant assistance and 165 lakh on commercial basis.

MEA spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said India would continue to take forward the global vaccine supply initiative and cover more countries in a phased manner.

A patient is being treated in Indian hospital

Consignments of coronavirus vaccine doses were supplied as gifts to Bangladesh (20 lakh), Myanmar (17 lakh), Nepal (10 lakh), Bhutan (1.5 lakh), the Maldives (1 lakh), Mauritius (1 lakh), Seychelles (50,000), Sri Lanka (5 lakh), Bahrain (1 lakh), Oman (1 lakh), Afghanistan (5 Lakhs), Barbados (1 Lakh) and Dominica (70,000), he said.

Srivastava said countries which received vaccines on commercial basis are Brazil (20 lakh), Morocco (60 lakh), Bangladesh (50 lakh), Myanmar (20 lakh), Egypt (50,000), Algeria (50,000), South Africa (10 lakh), Kuwait (2 lakh) and UAE (2 lakh).

The vaccines are even being sent to Latin American countries.

India, the largest drug producer in the world, is currently manufacturing two COVID-19 vaccines- Covishield and Covaxin.

While Oxford-AstraZeneca’s Covishield is being manufactured by the Serum Institute of India in Pune, Covaxin is being produced by Bharat Biotech.