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Indian Covid vaccine heads for Brazilian shores

Indian Covid vaccine heads for Brazilian shores (Image courtesy: Deccan Herald).

The Indian government has cleared exports of the locally-made coronavirus vaccine to Brazil and Morocco on Friday, a senior official confirmed.

Exports of the vaccine will also start to South Africa and Saudi Arabia, the official said.

Brazil has placed an order to buy 2 million doses of the Covishield vaccine produced at Serum Institute of India in collaboration with Oxford University and UK pharma giant AstraZeneca. Brazil, which has faced the second highest number of coronavirus deaths in the world next to the United States, has got delayed in launching its inoculation drive because it was carrying out trials with a Chinese vaccine candidate which did not work out.

India has received requests for the vaccine from as many as 92 countries. Bolivia has also placed an order for 5 million doses of the vaccine.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has already stated that "as the largest vaccine-producing country of the world. India's vaccine production and delivery capacity will be used to help all humanity in fighting this crisis."

India had to give priority to its own inoculation campaign which was launched on Saturday. It has also sent free supplies to neighbouring countries Bhutan, Maldives, Bangladesh, Nepal, Myanmar and Seychelles, In the case of Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and Mauritius, confirmation of necessary regulatory clearances are still awaited. Commercial supplies to other countries are now starting after meeting these commitments.