India begins Covid-19 vaccine exports to neighboring countries

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Bhutan received the vaccines consignment of 150,000 doses. (Image Source: Twitter/Dr S Jaishankar)

Bhutan and Maldives received consignments of Covishield manufactured by Pune-based Serum Institute of India (SII) on Wednesday while Bangladesh and Nepal received it on Thursday. 

India on Wednesday began exports of Covid-19 vaccines to six neighboring countries and started the “Vaccine Maitri” initiative. The delivery began with two special flights that carried the first batches of Covishield to Bhutan and Maldives. Bangladesh and Nepal received two large shipments of Covishield on Thursday, which will be followed by exports to Myanmar and Seychelles. Pune-based Serum Institute of India (SII) manufactures the AstraZeneca-Oxford University’s Covishield. 

Bhutan became the first to receive the vaccines when a consignment of 150,000 doses reached Thimpu. The vaccines are a part of an overall program to build Bhutanese capacity to fight the pandemic.

External Affairs Minister of India Dr S Jaishankar tweeted: “Indian vaccines reach Maldives, reflects our special friendship.”

Maldives Foreign Affairs Minister Abdulla Shahid said: “Maldives is happy to receive as grant, 100,000 doses of Covishield developed by Serum Institute of India – among the first countries to receive vaccines from India.” The consignment was received at the Male airport. 

Bangladesh received a shipment of 2 million vaccines today. Jaishankar said Vaccine Maitri “reaffirms the highest priority accorded by India to relations with Bangladesh.”

One million doses of vaccine landed in Kathmandu, Nepal on Thursday. Health Minister of Nepal Hridayesh Tripathi said: “This is an example of the relationship between Nepal and India. It has been named Vaccine Maitri.” Jaishankar tweeted the picture of Nepal receiving the vaccine and added: “Putting neighbors first, putting people first!”

As we have reported  earlier, India also manufactures Covaxin by Bharat Biotech and this homegrown vaccine has received severe criticism.

Also Read: Vaccine against covid-19 -India first!

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