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India sends COVID-19 vaccines to over 80 countries, Fiji latest entrant

New Delhi: India’s vaccine outreach, also known as vaccine Maitri continues with full gusto, with the latest entrant being Fiji in the pacific to get a consignment of 100,000 doses of India-made vaccines.

The vaccines were handed over by India’s acting high commissioner Saifullah Khan to Fiji’s Prime Minister Admiral (Retired) Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama at the Nadi International Airport.

The consignment was received by Fiji’s Health minister Ifereimi Waqainabete, Defence minister Inia Seruiratu, Permanent Secretary for Office of the Prime Minister Yogesh Karan, Permanent Secretary for Health and Medical Services James Fong and other top officials.

Fiji’s prime minister in a tweet thanked the Indian Prime minister for vaccines. He wrote, “Vinaka to my friend, @narendramodi, for helping us take this giant step towards a post-pandemic future for Fiji and for the world.”

Fiji’s prime minister also highlighted, “In a bleak year for multilateralism, you’ve helped put a welcome pause on the pandemic politics that’s kept valuable vaccines in the world’s largest & richest countries”.

India has sent vaccines to other countries in the pacific, which include Solomon Islands. India has also sent Not just countries in the Pacific, but also in Caribbean India has sent vaccines.

The Indian high commission in a release said, “India and Fiji share a long standing partnership based on mutual respect, cooperation and cultural ties. Fiji is an important partner for realizing the Indo- Pacific vision that envisages a free, open and inclusive region in a common pursuit of progress and prosperity.”

India began its vaccine Maitri in January this year, with the first tranche of Indian vaccines being sent to Maldives, Bhutan, followed by other countries in the neighbourhood. India’s vaccine outreach to the world started within 4 days of it starting its mega domestic vaccination programme on 16th January.

On Tuesday, speaking at an event foreign secretary Harsh Shringla said, “Since the launch of Vaccine Maitri, we have supplied 64 million doses of vaccines to 82 countries. This includes supplies under a grant, commercial contracts and the COVAX facility.”

The vaccine initiative is expected to get a booster shot, with Quad countries agreeing after the first leadership summit in March that India’s vaccine manufacturing capacity will be increased to produce more vaccines for the Indo Pacific region.