India gifts 500,000 vaccines to Sri Lanka


President of Sri Lanka Gotabaya Rajapaksa receiving the shipment of Covishield vaccines. (Image Source: Twitter/Gotabaya Rajapaksa)

Since the launch of the Vaccine Maitri initiative on January 20, India has provided vaccines to Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Mauritius, Myanmar, Nepal, and Seychelles. 

On Thursday, India sent 500,000 doses of Covishield vaccine to Sri Lanka under the Vaccine Maitri initiative. The Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine Covishield is developed by Pune-based Serum Institute of India. According to various media reports, the vaccines were sent as a “gift” from India to Sri Lanka. 

Sri Lanka stated that its 150,000 health workers and 115,000 chosen military and police troops will be the first to get vaccinated in six hospitals in Colombo and its suburbs. President of Sri Lanka Gotabaya Rajapaksa thanked Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi for “the generosity shown towards” the people of Sri Lanka. 

During a virtual summit in September, Modi had promised to support Sri Lanka to minimize the health and economic impact of the pandemic. 

India also sent a consignment of 10,800 doses of vaccine to Bahrain on Thursday. India has sent shipments of Covid-19 vaccines under grant assistance to Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Mauritius, Myanmar, Nepal, and Seychelles. The country started commercial exports last week when it sent two million vaccine doses each to Brazil and Morocco.

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