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India sent over 361 lakh anti-coronavirus vaccine doses to various countries: MEA

MEA spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said the supply of vaccines to countries will continue in the coming weeks and months in a phased manner but it will be ensured that domestic requirements for the national vaccination programme are kept in mind.

February 26, 2021 / 08:40 AM IST
Representative image: Reuters

Representative image: Reuters

India has provided 361.94 lakh doses of anti-coronavirus vaccines to various countries, out of which 67.5 lakh doses have been supplied as grant assistance and 294.44 lakh on commercial basis, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said.

MEA spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said the supply of vaccines to countries will continue in the coming weeks and months in a phased manner but it will be ensured that domestic requirements for the national vaccination programme are kept in mind.

"As of now, we have provided a total of 361.94 lakh doses to various countries. This includes 67.5 lakh doses supplied under grant assistance and 294.44 lakh doses under various commercial contracts," he said at an online briefing.

Srivastava said India has also offered locally-made vaccines to all members of the diplomatic corps and their families based in the country.

"It has been offered not only to the diplomats of countries but also to those of UN agencies and intergovernmental organisations working in India. This drive will cover all the locations where they are based," he said.

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COVID-19 Vaccine

Frequently Asked Questions

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How does a vaccine work?

A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.

How many types of vaccines are there?

There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.

What does it take to develop a vaccine of this kind?

Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.

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To a question on the workshop on "COVID-19 Management: Experience, Good Practices and Way Forward" with 10 neighbouring countries that was held on February 18 and addressed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Srivastava said among other things, the PM proposed a special visa scheme for doctors and nurses, a regional Air Ambulance agreement for medical contingencies, creation of a regional platform for collating, compiling and studying data about the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines.

The prime minister also proposed creating a regional network for promoting technology-assisted epidemiology for preventing future pandemics, he said.

Srivastava said these proposals were very well-received by the participating countries and follow-up action is being taken in consultation with ministries concerned.

India has sent consignments of anti-coronavirus vaccine doses as gifts to countries such as Bangladesh, Myanmar, Nepal, Bhutan, the Maldives, Mauritius, Seychelles, Sri Lanka, Bahrain, Oman, Afghanistan, Barbados and Dominica.

Countries which received vaccines on commercial basis include Brazil, Morocco, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Egypt, Algeria, South Africa, Kuwait and the UAE.

In a major announcement, India on January 19 said it will send vaccines under grant assistance to several countries.

India is one of the world's biggest drugmakers, and an increasing number of countries have already approached it for procuring anti-coronavirus vaccines.
PTI
first published: Feb 26, 2021 08:37 am

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