India sends first vaccine doses to Africa under WHO’s COVAX programme

PUBLISHED: Tue, 23 Feb 2021 14:55:15 GMT
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NEW DELHI, Feb 23 (Reuters) – India will on Tuesday make its first shipment of a locally made COVID-19 shot to the WHO-backed equitable vaccine distribution network COVAX, the government said.

“Fulfilling our commitment to help the world with COVID-19 vaccines, supplies of Made-in-India vaccine commence today for Africa under COVAX facility,” Anurag Srivastava, spokesman for the Ministry of External Affairs, said on Twitter.

The World Health Organization this month paved the way for the Oxford University/AstraZeneca vaccine’s global roll-out by approving emergency use of the product produced by the Serum Institute of India (SII), the world’s biggest vaccine maker, and SK Bioscience of South Korea.

SII will also soon start producing the Novavax vaccine mainly for poor and middle-income countries.

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India, the world’s biggest maker of vaccines, has shipped over 17 million vaccine doses to more than two dozen countries – including around 6 million as gifts to partners such as Bangladesh and Nepal. For its own campaign, New Delhi has so far only ordered 31 million doses. (Reporting by Krishna N. Das; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)

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