The proactive steps taken by the Modi government to launch the world’s largest vaccination programme domestically, even while supplying Covid-19 vaccines and medical supplies to 150 countries via its Vaccine Maitri initiative, is helping to save millions of lives across every continent, writes India Inc Founder and CEO Manoj Ladwa.
The Covid-19 pandemic has proved that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Make in India’ programme is good for the world. At a time when much of the developed world is suffering from short supplies of the Covid-19 jab, India has undertaken the world’s biggest vaccination programme at home while simultaneously supplying massive volumes of vaccines and other medicines and supplies to the rest of the world.
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Under the Vaccine Maitri initiative, India has supplied 60 countries with 60 million doses of vaccines in six weeks till March 9, 2021. This is in keeping with a commitment made by Modi at the Vaccine Summit in London on June 4, 2020. “India not only has the capacity to contribute to the global health efforts, but also has the will to do so in a spirit of sharing and caring,” he had told the summit.
A few months later, addressing the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in September, he had reiterated this commitment, saying: “India’s vaccine production and delivery capacity will be used to help all humanity in fighting this crisis. India will also help all the countries in enhancing their cold chain and storage capacities for the delivery of the vaccines.”
This, even as many developed countries have faced credible charges of hoarding vaccines for their own populations and Chinese and Russian vaccines prove to be of debatable efficacy, India’s much maligned domestic pharmaceutical sector, which has been unfairly accused of dodgy IPR practices, has emerged as the world’s proverbial Florence Nightingale.
Consider the numbers: India has supplied HCQ, paracetamol and other medical supplies to 150 countries, more than half of which is on a non-commercial basis. The total aid component of this is almost $11 million.
It has also made commercial supplies of 1.54 billion units of paracetamol, 560 million tablets of HCQ and 1,605 MT of APIs by way of commercial supplies, grants and a combination of the two to the US, Canada, large parts of South America, Europe, Russia, Africa, Australiaand the Middle East.
Even as Modi kept his word and shipped vaccine supplies to the rest of the world, his government has been rolling out the world’s largest vaccination programme at home. Till date, more than 20 million people have received at least one dose of the vaccine. The government has set an ambitious target of utilising 400-500 million doses of the two vaccines cleared for use in India to vaccinate 200-250 million people.
Words of appreciation have poured in from the far corners of the globe, from the US, Brazil, St Lucia, Guatemala, Dominican Republic to Ukraine, Afghanistan, Bhutan, Mauritius, Maldives, Nepal, Seychelles and Sri Lanka among others
“Thanks India and Prime Minister Narendra Modi for supporting VaccinEquity. Your commitment to Covax and sharing Covid-19 doses is helping 60+ countries start vaccinating their health workers and other priority groups. I hope other countries will follow your example,” tweeted WHO Director General Tedros Adhanon Ghebreyesus.
This is yet another example of what Modi meant when he called for an Atma Nirbhar Bharat (Self-Reliant India). He had maintained that it meant making in India for the world. The Covid-19 crisis has proved that this initiative is good not only for India but for the world as well.