Afghanistan receives 500,000 Covid-19 vaccine doses from India

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Half a million doses of Covishiled vaccine reached the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan on Sunday. (Image Source: Dr S. Jaishankar)

On Sunday, Afghanistan received 500,000 doses of Covid-19 vaccine Covishield from India under the Vaccine Maitri initiative. The Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine Covishield is developed by the Pune-based Serum Institute of India.

India’s Chargé d’Affaires Raghuram S handed over the shipment of vaccines to Acting Minister of Public Health Wahid Majrooh at the Hamid Karzai International Airport, Kabul. Foreign Minister of Afghanistan Mohammed Haneef Atmar thanked India and described the gestures as “a clear sign of generosity, commitment, and strong partnership.” 

A statement by the Afghan Foreign Ministry expressed gratitude for the assistance and shipment of Covid-19 vaccines. The statement said: “The donation of five hundred thousand doses of vaccine to tackle the spread of Covid in Afghanistan in the current difficult circumstances is a strong sign of generosity and sincere cooperation of the Republic of India with the government and people of Afghanistan.” 

Afghanistan in the first phase will administer vaccines to security and defense forces, health workers, and other groups at the forefront of the fight against the coronavirus. In the second phase, it will vaccinate senior citizens and patients with chronic diseases. 

India’s External Affair Minister Dr S Jaishankar tweeted: “Made in India vaccines reach Afghanistan. Stand with our friends, always.”  On January 8, Jaishankar had promised that India will provide Covid-19 relief assistance to Afghanistan as a part of expanding cooperation between the two countries. 

So far, India has gifted Covid-19 vaccine doses to its neighboring countries including Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Seychelles, and Mauritius. The country has also carried out commercial exports to Brazil and Morocco.

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