Modi highlights India’s key role as Covid vaccine producer in Davos speech

New Delhi, Jan 28 (efe-epa).- Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday underlined India’s support to other countries in fighting the coronavirus pandemic by sending vaccines and medical assistance during a virtual speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

“By sending Covid vaccines to various countries and setting up infrastructure related to vaccination, India is saving the lives of the citizens of other countries,” Modi told the Forum.

Last week India had begun a diplomatic outreach to provide free of cost supply of anti-Covid vaccines to nearby countries such as Bangladesh, Mauritius, Bhutan, Maldives, Seychelles, Sri Lanka, Myanmar and Nepal.

The Indian health ministry said that a total of 5.5 million vaccines had already been shipped under the program and Oman (100,000 doses) and Nicaragua (200,000) will also be gifted the vaccine within the next few days.

On Jan. 22, India also began to send the first shipments of anti-Covid vaccine manufactured at its facilities to Brazil, one of the countries which has signed export agreements with the South Asian nation, apart from Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Morocco, Bangladesh and Myanmar.

Modi also highlighted that India, considered the “world’s pharmacy” due to its massive medicine manufacturing capacity at low cost, expects to increase the number of coronavirus vaccines under production.

“While so far only two made-in-India corona vaccines have been introduced to the world, in the near future many more such vaccines will be made available from India. These vaccines will help us in assisting countries across the world faster and on a much bigger scale,” said the prime minister.

The Serum Institute of India, the largest vaccine manufacturer in the world in terms of volume, has been producing the vaccine Covishield, jointly developed by British-Swedish pharma company AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford.

Indian lab Bharat Biotech has developed its own indigenous vaccine Covaxin, which is being administered in India even though its clinical trials have not been concluded yet.

In his speech, Modi said that India – a country of over 1.3 billion people or 18 percent of the global population – had “effectively controlled” the coronavirus pandemic and prevented a bigger tragedy from taking place.

In the last 24 hours, India reported around 11,000 fresh Covid infections, down from the record surge of almost 100,000 daily cases that it witnessed in September. The country has so far registered around 10.7 million cases of the disease.

The decline in daily infections comes even as India is pressing ahead with the “largest anti-Covid vaccination campaign in the world,” Modi asserted, adding that around 30 million health workers were being vaccinated as part of the first phase.

India aims to vaccinate around 300 million citizens in three phases within the next three months, and the prime minister claimed that the country had “vaccinated more than 2.3 million health workers in just 12 days.” EFE-EPA


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