Covid-19: Canada receives 500,000 doses of Covishield vaccine made in India
The first Canada-bound shipment of Covid-19 vaccines manufactured in India arrived in Toronto on Wednesday morning.
A commercial consignment of 500,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine under the brand Covishield was sent by the Pune-based Serum Institute of India (SII). It was received by its Canadian partner Verity Pharmaceuticals, located in the Greater Toronto Area town of Mississauga.
Delivery of the first tranche of a total of two million doses scheduled by mid-May was announced by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
During a media interaction, he said, “Very early this morning, our first half a million doses of the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine from the Serum Institute arrived in Canada. Already, the national operations centre has worked with provinces and territories to coordinate shipments of these vaccines across the country. Our priority is to get doses into arms as soon as possible.”
Canada’s minister of public services & procurement Anita Anand and India’s high commissioner to Ottawa Ajay Bisaria were present for the receipt of the batch of vaccine.
“Thank you to all whose hard work made this happen. We look forward to future collaboration,” Anand tweeted.
In a statement, Bisaria said, “India is proud to support Canada’s vaccination program. With more than 60 percent of global vaccine manufacturing capacity, India believes in vaccine internationalism and is providing a healing hand as the world recovers from this deadly pandemic.”
The shipment has an expiry date of about a month from now and Canadian public health authorities are accelerating the process of getting the doses distributed and administered across the country.
Health Canada had given authorisation to the SII product last week. Canada is the first Western nation and the only G7 country to receive vaccines from India under the government’s Vaccine Maitri initiative.
The AstraZeneca vaccine is the third shot to have been cleared by Canada after those made by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna. Canada will receive a total of 22 million doses of the AstraZeneca inoculation, which includes the consignment from India.
Trudeau had called Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in February with a request for vaccines and the Indian PM had then took to Twitter to say that he “was happy to receive a call from my friend, @JustinTrudeau”.