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MEA clears 24 million vaccine doses to 25 countries in Feb. Canada isn’t on list

The Serum Institute of India has been approved to supply 23.75 million Covid-19 vaccines to 25 countries including Saudi Arabia, Brazil, Morocco, Nicaragua, Mauritius, Philippines, Serbia, the UAE and Qatar.
India earlier decided to route export of vaccines to foreign countries via the external affairs ministry (AFP)
Updated on Feb 10, 2021 03:35 PM IST
By Shishir Gupta, Hindustan Times, New Delhi

India has cleared supply of 24 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines to 25 countries on a commercial basis in February, more than twice the 10.5 million vaccines that were exported in January, people familiar with the development said on Wednesday.

The government last month mandated that the external affairs ministry would oversee the export of the vaccine on a commercial basis to foreign countries and international organisations.

India has supplied 16.7 million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine manufactured by the Serum Institute of India (SII) to 20 countries. This included nearly 6.3 million doses that were supplied free to 13 countries such as Bangladesh, Myanmar, Bhutan, Nepal, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Bahrain and Oman, Barbados and Dominica. About 10 million more doses were supplied on a commercial basis to seven countries including Brazil, Morocco and South Africa.

According to the external affairs ministry’s plans for February, the SII has been cleared to supply 24 million doses on a commercial basis to 25 countries including Saudi Arabia, Brazil, Morocco, Myanmar, Nepal, Nicaragua, Mauritius, Philippines, Serbia, UAE and Qatar.

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This list of 25 countries does not include Canada that recently requested for 1 million doses of the vaccine, a government official said.

Canada’s minister of public services and procurement Anita Anand, an Indo-Canadian, faced some embarrassing moments this week when she was unable to respond to questions from a lawmaker who asked if the government reached out to New Delhi to make up for its difficulties in getting Covid vaccines.

In a widely-circulated video, Anita Anand told the lawmaker that she hadn’t phoned Prime Minister Narendra Modi but wasn’t aware if anyone else in the government had reached out to the Indian government. “She doesn’t know…. Frightening,” Michelle Rempel Garner, the shadow minister of health for the opposition Conservative Party who pressed for a clear answer, remarked towards the end of the 39-second video.

The Justin Trudeau government, which targets vaccination of all residents by September 2021, has been under pressure from the opposition over complaints of inoculation shortages as the winter wave of the Covid-19 pandemic continues in Canada. Infections caused by variants emerging from Brazil and South Africa have been reported in its largest city, Toronto. Canada has recorded 810,797 cases so far.

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