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India to send 5,00,000 doses of Covishield vaccine to Sri Lanka

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had made a commitment to his Sri Lankan counterpart Mahinda Rajapaksa during a virtual summit in September last that India will provide all possible support to the island nation to minimise the health and economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

January 28, 2021 / 07:52 AM IST

India is expected to send 5,00,000 doses of Covishield vaccine to Sri Lanka on Thursday. It is learnt that the consignments are being sent to the island nation as a "gift" from India.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had made a commitment to his Sri Lankan counterpart Mahinda Rajapaksa during a virtual summit in September last that India will provide all possible support to the island nation to minimise the health and economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

So far, India has sent consignments of coronavirus vaccines under grant assistance to Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Mauritius and Seychelles.

Last week, India began commercial exports and sent two million doses each to Brazil and Morocco.

India is also sending coronavirus vaccines as commercial supplies to Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Bangladesh and Myanmar.

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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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In a major announcement, India on January 19 said it would send COVID-19 vaccines under grant assistance to Bhutan, Maldives, Bangladesh, Nepal, Myanmar and Seychelles and supplies to Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and Mauritius will commence after confirmation of necessary regulatory clearances.

India is one of the world's biggest drugmakers, and an increasing number of countries have already approached it for procuring the coronavirus vaccines.

India has already rolled out a massive coronavirus vaccination drive under which two vaccines, Covishield and Covaxin, are being administered to frontline health workers across the country.

While Oxford-AstraZeneca's Covishield is being manufactured by the Serum Institute, Covaxin is being produced by Bharat Biotech.

India had earlier supplied hydroxychloroquine, Remdesivir and paracetamol tablets, as well as diagnostic kits, ventilators, masks, gloves and other medical supplies to a large number of countries to help them deal with the pandemic.
PTI
first published: Jan 28, 2021 07:21 am

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