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India starts COVID vaccine shipments to its neighbours

AGENCIES 

New Delhi, Jan 20 : Bhutan and Maldives Wednesday became the first two countries to receive COVID-19 vaccines sent by India in sync with its ‘neighbourhood first’ policy. External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar shared on Twitter pho-tos of the consignments reaching the two countries.

 On Tuesday, India had said it would send COVED-19 vaccines under grant assistance to Bhutan, Maldives, Bangladesh, Nepal, Myanmar and Seychelles from Wednesday. The supplies to Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and Mauritius will commence after confirmation of necessary regulatory clearances.

 It is learnt that 1,50,000 doses of Covisheild vaccine, manufactured by the Serum Institute of India (SID, were sent to Bhutan and 1,00,000 doses reached Maldives as part of India’s grant assistance. “Indian vaccines reach Maldives, reflects our special friendship,” Jaishankar tweeted along with a photograph of the consignments. “

. Consignment arrives in Bhutan. Another example of #NeighbourhoodFirst,” he said in another tweet. India is one of the world’s biggest drugmakers, and 

an increasing number of coun-tries have already approached it for procuring coronavirus vac-cines.

 The Ministry of External Affairs had said on Tuesday that India would supply COVID-19 vac-cines to partner countries over the coming weeks and months in a phased manne4 keeping in view the domestic requirements. India has already rolled out a massive coro-navirus vaccination drive under which two vaccines,

Covishield and Covaxin, are being adminis-tered to frontline health workers across the country. While Oxford-AstraZeneca’s Covishield is being manufactured by the Serum Institute, Covaxin is being pro-duced by Bharat Biotech. The MEA said it will be ensured that domestic manufacturers have adequate stocks to meet the coun-try’s requirements while supply-ing abroad. 

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