India on Tuesday informed the UN Security Council that it will supply vaccines to the Covax facility of the World Health Organisation and undertake contractual supplies to various countries in a phased manner. It also added that more than six million doses have been airlifted to nine countries under New Delhi’s “vaccine diplomacy.” “As the largest vaccine-producing country of the world, we are fulfilling our commitment to make our vaccine production and delivery capacity available for the benefit of the entire humanity,” India’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador K Nagaraj Naidu said on Monday.
Speaking at the UNSC briefing on ‘Maintenance of international peace and security: Follow-up on the implementation of resolution 2532’, Naidu informed the dignitaries that two vaccines have already been granted approval for emergency use in India and the country plans to vaccinate about 300 million citizens in the first six months.
Resolution 2532 (2020), adopted in July 2020, expressed support for the Secretary-General’s appeal for a global ceasefire to help unite efforts to fight COVID-19 in the world’s most vulnerable countries.
“We have already airlifted more than six million doses to nine countries in Phase-I as grant assistance. Contractual supplies to various countries are also being undertaken in a phased manner. We will also gradually supply to the Covax facility of the WHO,” Naidu said, adding that India has also provided training to several partner countries to strengthen their clinical capabilities, as well as to enhance their capacities for vaccine administration.
Covax is a global initiative to ensure rapid and impartial access to COVID-19 vaccines for all countries, regardless of income level. Last week, Covax had announced that, pending WHO emergency use listings, nearly 150 million doses of the AstraZeneca/Oxford candidate are anticipated to be available in the first quarter of 2021, via existing agreements with the Serum Institute of India (SII) and AstraZeneca.
Naidu told the Council that India has assisted more than 150 countries through urgent health and medical supplies. New Delhi has pledged 15 million dollars for GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance, and operationalised the COVID-19 Emergency Fund for its neighbours with an initial contribution of 10 million dollars.
“In the spirit of South-South cooperation, through the USD 150 million India-UN Development Partnership Fund, we have responded to member states’ requests for COVID-19 related assistance,” Naidu said.
Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan and the Maldives have received India’s COVID-19 vaccines under grant assistance in sync with its ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy. On Friday, India began commercial exports of COVID-19 vaccines and sent two million doses each to Brazil and Morocco.