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Ambassador's Op-Ed in VTC News: India Leads the Global Vaccination Campaign Against COVID-19

Posted on: February 02, 2021 | Back | Print

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As the world continues to battle against the COVID-19 pandemic, the global community’s efforts are increasingly focused on vaccine development and immunization against the virus.

India, long known as the “Pharmacy of the World”, is naturally at the forefront of these efforts. The country launched the world’s largest ever vaccination drive on 16th January 2021 with two ‘Made in India’ vaccines to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. In the first phase of the campaign, 300 million high-priority recipients – mostly sanitation and healthcare workers, elderly persons and people with serious illnesses – who are particularly vulnerable to the pandemic are being given the vaccine shots. In the first eleven days of the campaign, more than two million people have been vaccinated in India against COVID-19, faster than anywhere else in the world.

Currently, one of the two vaccines being used in India – Covishield – is developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca and produced by the world’s largest vaccine manufacturing company, Serum Institute of India located in Pune. The second one – Covaxin – is developed and manufactured by the Hyderabad-based Indian pharmaceutical company Bharat Biotech and is completely indigenous.

In addition, at least four other candidate vaccines are in different stages of trials in India.  As Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi mentioned in his address at the World Economic Forum's online Davos Agenda Summit on 28 January 2021, “While two ‘Made in India’ vaccines have already been introduced to the world, many more vaccines will be made available from India”.

India’s vaccination drive against COVID-19 reaffirms the country’s strong credentials as one of the world’s largest vaccine producers, with robust R&D and a well-developed ecosystem linking public and private sectors as well as academia and industry that constantly spurs innovation. Today, more than 60% of global vaccine production comes from India. India supplies 1.5 billion vaccine doses annually to more than 150 countries. India is the largest supplier of the DPT, BCG and Measles vaccines globally. India’s vaccine capacity and its ability to deliver safe and low-cost vaccines rapidly has been leveraged by global health bodies as well as other organisations. World Health Organization sources 70% of its essential immunization vaccines from India. Gavi, the global vaccine initiative, and the Gates Foundation all source vaccines in bulk from India.  

Lauding India's pharmaceutical capabilities, the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres recently noted that India’s vaccine production capacity is one of the best assets the world has today and that India can play a major role in ensuring a global vaccination campaign in the fight against the pandemic.

India is also a leader in the logistics of effective vaccine delivery. The entire vaccine supply line has been digitized through an Electronic Vaccine Intelligence Network (eVIN). The COVID-19 vaccine rollout itself is being monitored through a digital COVID-19 Vaccine Intelligence Network (Co-WIN) that will be used for planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of the campaign.

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted India’s standing as a reliable stakeholder in global healthcare supply chains with major strengths in manufacturing, R&D and innovation. This is corroborated by the fact that India has supplied supportive medicines to nearly 150 countries across all continents to help them manage the impact of COVID-19. 

As Prime Minister Modi has said, “India’s vaccine production and delivery capacity would be used for the benefit of all humanity…” Guided by that vision, India has already shipped more than 6 million COVID-19 vaccine doses to nine countries around the world, reinforcing the message that India remains ready to shoulder its global responsibilities as a trusted and dependable partner.

In addition, India is going to supply 10 million doses to Africa and 1 million doses to UN health workers under GAVI’s COVAX facility. Contractual supplies to various countries are also being undertaken in a phased manner. Further, India is helping many countries in developing the infrastructure for successful vaccination.

India’s vaccination drive against COVID-19 reaffirms Prime Minister Modi’s vision of Atmanirbhar Bharat, or ‘self-reliant India’, that underlines India’s efforts to build capacities at home so as to become a more effective partner for the global community.

India’s message is simple: wherever India has capabilities, the benefits will reach the entire world.