By Joseph Erunke – Abuja
India has donated 100,000 doses of COVISHIELD vaccines to Nigeria.
A statement by High Commission of India in Nigeria, Tuesday evening, said the consignment was delivered to the country through the National Primary Health Care Development Agency, NPHCDA.
The statement read in full: “These 100,000 doses of vaccines, manufactured at the Serum Institute of India, Pune, the world’s largest vaccine manufacturing facility, arrived at the Abuja airport from Mumbai via Addis Ababa on 26 March 2021 at 1200 hrs.
“The consignment was delivered to the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) by the High Commission of India.
“The Covishield vaccine manufactured at the Serum Institute of India is the first COVID-19 vaccine approved by NAFDAC, Nigeria.
”Its first lot of 3.92 million doses of vaccines under COVAX had reached Nigeria on 2 March 2021.
“The bilateral donation of 100,000 doses of Covishield vaccines is in fulfilment of the announcement made by the High Commissioner of India at that time.
On the occasion, High Commissioner Abhay Thakur stated that the supply of vaccines to Ngeria is in keeping with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s commitment, made at the UNGA in September 2020, that India’s vaccine
production and delivery capacity will be used to help humanity in fighting Covid-19.
He added that these supplies of Made in India vaccines to Nigeria is in keeping with India’s longstanding, age-old andtime-tested ties with Nigeria, based on close firiendship and deep mutual trust.
“India has been at the forefront of the global fight against the pandemic and supports a collective approach in this battle.
“Guided by this philosophy, and as the pharmacy of the world, India, and under its ‘Vaccine Maitri’ initiative (Maitri
means Friendship), has supplied millions of doses of vaccines to many countries spread across the globe.
“As on 02 April 2021, India had supplied 61.426 million doses of Made-in-India vaccines to 82 countries and will be supplying to more countries soon.
“Despite the supply shortages, and at a time when the 1.3 billion population of India itself has been administered about 55 million vaccines so far, and when about 3 million daily vaccinations taking place in India, its own needs are huge but India is still supplying vaccines across the world, far and wide.
“Nearly 36.5% of all vaccines supplied to the world, as of mid-March, were Made in India.
”India is not only a leading producer of AstraZeneca vaccines, and other vaccines such as Novavax and Sputnik, but has also developed its own indigenous vaccine, Covaxin, by Bharat Biotech, which too is highly effective and has been supplied to many countries.
“We look forward to NAFDAC approval for Covaxin in due course and its supply to African countries both bilaterally and under various international arrangements such as Covax and AVATT, as well.
“The Honourable Minister of External Affairs, Dr. S. Jaishankar stated in the Parliament of India on 17 March, 2021, “Vaccine Maitri” began in India’s immediate neighbourhood, followed by our extended neighbourhood including the Gulf countries and then immediately to needy and vulnerable nations in Africa and the Americas.
“Dr. Jaishankar had further stated that “as Indians, we are all naturally internationalist by virtue of our culture, traditions, heritage and history.
”We have never seen a contradiction between the internationalism and the nationalism that was the driver of our independence movement and the subsequent efforts at our nation building.
“Indeed, this experience has even further reinforced our internationalism, by creating a strong solidarity with other nations who have similarly struggled for their freedom.
“In recent years, as democracy struck deep roots, we have found our own cultural expressions that define us in a diverse world.
”In fact, drawing from that heritage, we have become even stronger voices of international cooperation and solidarity.
“That is of course, in great demand at times of stress like the Covid pandemic.”