Mar 02, 2021 News
Kaieteur News – Yesterday, India gifted 20,000 doses of its COVID-19 vaccine – COVISHIELD (Oxford-AstraZeneca), to the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis to meet that island nation’s immediate requirements of vaccinating healthcare workers, frontline workers and those with co-morbidities. The COVISHIELD vaccine is manufactured in India by the Serum Institute of India, Pune, the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer in collaboration with Oxford-AstraZeneca.
In a statement, the Indian High Commission in Georgetown, Guyana noted that by delivering COVID vaccine within days of its rollout, India has once again demonstrated its willingness and ability to act as a First Responder to crises in the World, including in St. Kitts and Nevis. The Government of India has announced a total donation of 570,000 doses to the CARICOM region out of which 125,000 doses of COVISHIELD vaccine to OECS countries, Antigua and Barbuda (40,000), St. Kitts and Nevis (20,000), Saint Lucia (25,000), St. Vincent and the Grenadines (40,000) which arrived in Antigua and Barbuda yesterday. These doses of vaccine were received from India by a special charter flight and the RSS is transporting the respective consignments from Antigua and Barbuda to the other countries in the next 24 hours.
The Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis, Hon. Timothy Harris, along with H.E. Dr. K.J. Srinivasa, High Commissioner of India, received the consignment of doses of vaccine, in a special ceremony held at Robert L. Bradshaw International Airport.
In brief remarks, Prime Minister Harris thanked both the Indian Prime Minister, Hon. Narendra Modi, and Foreign Minister, H.E. Dr. S Jaishankar, for the generous donation of COVID-19 vaccines to St. Kitts and Nevis, which has strengthened their hands in the fight against the COVID pandemic.
In his speech on the occasion, the High Commissioner highlighted that the gifting of vaccines to St. Kitts and Nevis honoured Prime Minister Modi’s commitment to use India’s vaccine production and delivery capacity for helping all of humanity in fighting the crisis. He emphasized the fact that St. Kitts and Nevis received the vaccine in the first few days of India’s assistance to friendly countries, highlighted the special place St. Kitts and Nevis occupies in India’s Foreign Policy. It also bolstered India’s credentials as the immediate responder for St. Kitts and Nevis in times of emergency situations. He reiterated that the arrival of COVID-19 vaccines in St. Kitts and Nevis marked another milestone in our bilateral relations. The High Commissioner was happy to note that with India’s support, St. Kitts and Nevis would be able to intensify the inoculation drive at such an early stage in the global fight against the pandemic. He hoped that the vaccine would help St. Kitts and Nevis in saving lives, ameliorating suffering of brothers and sisters of St. Kitts and Nevis and bringing the country’s economy back to normal. He quoted Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, who said that India has always been guided by its ancient philosophy of ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’ – one goal. Even during the pandemic, India ramped up its pharmaceutical production – especially of hydrochloroquine and paracetamol – to respond to growing global demands. External Affairs Minister of India, Dr. S. Jaishankar, also said that India supplied medicines to 150 countries during the pandemic, more than half on a non-commercial basis, to deal with medical complications arising from COVID. Dr. Srinivasa quoted Dr. Jaishankar, who said that the Bhagavad Gita states ‘do your work with the welfare of others always in mind’ and Vaccine Maitri=Vaccine Friendship. It may be noted that Media calls our vaccine friendship effort as “Vaccine Diplomacy.”
While inaugurating the world’s largest vaccination drive in India on 16 January 2021, PM Modi had said, “Today, when we’ve developed our own vaccine, the world is looking at India with hope. As our vaccination drive will move forward, other countries of the world will benefit from it. India’s vaccine and our production capability must be used for human interest; this is our commitment.” The gifting of COVID-19 vaccines today fulfils the pledge made by our Prime Minister.
During this pandemic, the Governments of India and St. Kitts and Nevis worked in partnership to save lives, and ensure medicine and other essential medical supplies to St. Kitts and Nevis. The Government of India has provided life-saving medicines and medical supplies worth US$100,000 and 10,000 Hydroxychloroquine tablets to the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis as a gesture of goodwill in support of its fight against COVID-19. The medicines and medical supplies thus provided include Azithromycin, Amikacin injections, Cefotaxime Sodium injections, Ceftazadime Injections, Lopinavir/Ritonavir Tabs., Oseltamivir Caps., Amoxicillin + Clavulanic Acid Susp., Levocetrizine, Mannitol, Metronidazole, Metronidazole inj., Ceftriaxone injection, Paracetamol, Intra Venous Paracetamol, Ibuprofen, Vitamin C Tabs., Thermometer, Surgical gowns, Over shoes, Surgical gloves, Cape hood, Sampling Tubes and Swabs. Besides this, as part of our efforts to combat COVID-19, India also extended an assistance of “Quick Impact Community Development Projects” Fund of US$1million to the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis for improving health infrastructure and capacities. The same level of assistance, i.e. US$1million, was also offered to each CARICOM country. This assistance of US$1million from India will be used for improving health infrastructure in St. Kitts and Nevis. Out of the US$1million, US$300,000 has already been approved for procurement of life-saving medical supplies and equipment like Ventilators, masks, infrared thermometers, defibrillators test kits, medicines and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and the balance is under process for approval.
India and St. Kitts and Nevis share unique and special relations honoured by time and nourished by friendship and collaboration. Our shared values of democracy and rule of law strengthen our bilateral partnership based on mutual trust and mutual respect. Under the leadership of PM Modi, the traditional ties have acquired a new vision and vigour. The arrival of the COVID-19 vaccines in St. Kitts and Nevis yesterday has marked another milestone in its bilateral relations with India, that now serves as a model in CARICOM, the statement added.
Trials of COVID-19 vaccines are progressing well in India. Currently, there are quite a few vaccines in different phases of trials. India’s first indigenous vaccine against the novel coronavirus, Covaxin developed by Bharat Biotech in collaboration with Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and National Institute of Virology, Pune, is in the third phase of clinical trials. Others like ZyCOV-D developed by Zydus Cadilla in Ahmedabad, and Novavax’s protein subunit vaccine, are also undergoing trials in various stages. Multiple approved vaccines are likely to hit the Indian market in 2021. According to the Indian Health Minister, Dr. Harshvardhan, at least 18-19 coronavirus vaccine candidates including oral and nasal vaccines are in the pipeline and will be available for use in coming few months highlighting India’s predominant role as the “pharmacy of the world.”
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