No Request Received from Pakistan for Coronavirus Vaccines, Says MEA

India on Friday said it has not received any request for coronavirus vaccines from Pakistan and that it is undertaking commercial supplies of the doses to a number of countries, including Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Brazil and Morocco. So far, India has sent consignments of coronavirus vaccines under grant assistance to Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Mauritius and Seychelles.

“I am not aware of any request for the supply of Indian-made vaccines to Pakistan on a G2G (government-to-government) basis or commercial basis,” Spokesperson in the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) Anurag Srivastava said at a media briefing. When asked whether India would do if Pakistan requests for the vaccines, he declined to answer saying the question is “hypothetical at this stage”.

On Friday, India began commercial exports and sent two million doses each to Brazil and Morocco. India began sending coronavirus vaccines as grant assistance to the neighbouring countries on Wednesday.

“On the first day, 1.5 lakh doses of vaccines were supplied to Bhutan and 1 lakh doses to Maldives as grant assistance. Yesterday, supplies of 10 lakh doses to Nepal and 20 lakh doses to Bangladesh were undertaken,” he said. On Friday, Srivastava said consignments of 15 lakh doses for Myanmar, one lakh doses to Mauritius and 50,000 doses to Seychelles were airlifted.

He said supplies as grant assistance to Sri Lanka and Afghanistan will be undertaken after receiving confirmation of regulatory clearances from the two countries. “Contractual supplies are also being undertaken to Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Brazil, Morocco, Bangladesh and Myanmar,” he said.

The MEA spokesperson said there was interest in many countries in accessing vaccines from India which is the global hub for vaccine production. “Keeping in view the domestic requirements of the phased rollout, India will continue to supply COVID-19 vaccines to partner countries over the coming weeks and months in a phased manner. It will be ensured that domestic manufacturers will have adequate stocks to meet domestic requirements while supplying abroad,” said Srivastava.

He said quantities and types of vaccines to various countries would be based on availability and regulatory approvals in the countries concerned. In a major announcement, India on Tuesday said it would send COVID-19 vaccines under grant assistance to Bhutan, Maldives, Bangladesh, Nepal, Myanmar and Seychelles from Wednesday 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, and 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.

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