Iran requests India to quickly send rest of Covaxin shipment it has already paid for
As vaccine shortage in India spurs more demand for an outright ban on commercial export, an anxious Iranian government has clarified that it has purchased 5 lakh doses of Covaxin from Bharat Biotech. But 3.75 lakh doses, which were supposed to be sent by mid-March, are still pending.
April 09, 2021 / 06:49 PM IST
Iran has requested the government to quickly send it at least 3.75 lakh doses of Covaxin, which has been commercially procured and paid for by the country. Covaxin is manufactured by the Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech International.
The first batch of 1.25 lakh doses had reached Tehran on March 11, according to the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA). Next day, the Iranian health ministry's public relations head Kianoush Jahanpour had announced on Twitter that a further 3.75 lakh doses would arrive in the coming week. Set to be shipped by mid-March, it is yet to be sent.
“In reply to media queries on the purchase of vaccines from India, Iran has reflected its needs to the government and the Bharat Biotech. Happily, we have received the first consignment of 125,000 doses. Given the cordial relations with India and understanding the rise of new wave of Coronavirus in both countries, we are doing the necessary talks with Indian authorities to kindly expedite sending rest of the consignment which has already been paid for,” the Embassy's Twitter handle posted on Friday evening.
In India, the demand for an outright ban on commercial vaccine exports has gained steam as daily cases continue to scale record highs. As a result, Iran may just be the first of the many countries which have ordered from the two vaccine makers in India to become anxious, MEA sources said.
“India has assured Iran that the batch of promised vaccines would be delivered speedily. We are in close contact with the Iranian authorities,” a senior MEA official said.
Moneycontrol had reported on April 8 that India has decided to stop the direct grant of COVID-19 vaccines to poorer countries through the 'Vaccine Maitri' programme being run by the MEA. Multiple sources in the ministry had confirmed that the programme has been put on hold for the next one month or until the supply of vaccines for domestic requirement reaches an 'optimal level'.
However, the government has not yet officially announced a ban on the commercial export of COVID-19 vaccines. This means that commercial contracts signed by Bharat Biotech and the Serum Institute of India to supply vaccines to foreign nations or private entities can still continue. The two producers have exported 1.81 crore doses on commercial terms.