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Ghana gets first Covax delivery, Sri Lanka gets shipment as AstraZeneca asks India to make a billion vaccines

FRONTLINE: A nurse in Sri Lanka getting ready to vaccinate fellow health workers.

ECONOMYNEXT – Ghana in Africa had got the first Covax delivery from India under a global facility aimed at making Coronavirus vaccine available to developing countries, while Sri Lanka got a second vaccine shipment, the Indian High Commission in Colombo said.

“COVAX began the global COVID vaccine delivery by supplying 600,000 doses of made in India Oxford-Astrazeneca vaccine to Ghana on 24 February 2021,” India’s High Commission in Colombo said.

“This was the initial tranche of deliveries which are being planned under COVAX facility to various low and middle income countries.”

India had already given 500,00 doses free to Sri Lanka as part of efforts to help neighboring nations.

Sri Lanka’s state-run State Pharmaceuticals Corporation had ordered more vaccines from India.

The first tranche of paid vaccines had arrived in Sri Lanka on February 25.

AstraZeneca had asked the Serum Insitute of India, said to be the largest vaccine producer in the world, to produce the vaccine for low and middle income countries.

India itself has a population of a billion.

In June 2020 AstraZeneca said it had signed a deal with the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), Gavi the Vaccine Alliance, and the Serum Institute of India (SII) to make a ‘broad and equitable access’ of the vaccine in a 750 million dollar deal to produce 300 million vaccines.

AstraZeneca also licensed SII to supply one billion doses for low-and-middle-income countries, with a commitment to provide 400 million before the end of 2020.

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“Over the past 50 years SII has built significant capability in vaccine manufacturing and supply globally,” Adar Poonawalla, Chief Executive Officer, SII was quoted saying at the time.

“Serum Institute of India is delighted to partner with AstraZeneca in bringing this vaccine to India as well as low-and-middle-income countries.”

“India’s vaccine production, delivery capacity will be used to help humanity in fighting COVID-19,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi told the UN General assembly in September.

India is a top producer of medicines and the entire health system of countries like Sri Lanka depend on low cost Indian made generics and license produced drugs. (Colombo/Feb25/2021)

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