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Another 25 nations in line for India-made Covid vaccines

India to provide vaccines to 25 more countries

India has already provided Covid-19 vaccines to 15 countries while another 25 nations are in line for the shots, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said on Saturday.

"I think right now we have already supplied vaccines to about 15 countries as per my recollection. I would say there would be another about 25 countries which are at different stages in the pipeline. But what it has done is : today it has put India on the map of the world," Mr Jaishankar said.

The minister said some poor countries are being supplied the vaccine on a grant basis while some nations wanted it on par with the price that the Indian Government pays to the vaccine makers. Some countries also have direct contracts with the Indian vaccine producing companies and have negotiated commercially, he explained.

Mr Jaishankar said Prime Minister Narendra Modi's idea was to establish the country as the "Pharmacy of the World", taking advantage of the domestic capabilities much in the way that India emerged as IT leader during the Y2K issue.

The Centre has approved two India-made COVID-19 vaccines — Covaxin of Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech and Covishield, being manufactured by Pune-based Serum Institute of India in collaboration with UK pharma giant AstraZeneca and Oxford University. Both the vaccines are being used for the nat

iowide inoculation programme underway since Jan 16 with priority being given to frontline workers. India has set a target of inoculating 300 million people by Juy-August.

A third vaccine is also expected to be cleared in the coming weeks as drug maker Dr Reddys Labs recently said it will approach the Drug Regulator for the emergency use authorisation for Russian vaccine Sputnik V in March. The vaccine has already been cleared for mass use in Russia and has been favourably reviewed by leading scientists in the UK's reputed medical journal The Lancet.