Coronavirus | Nepal, Bangladesh receive Covishield consignments

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The Prime Ministers of Nepal and Bangladesh thanked the Indian leadership and the people of India after Kathmandu and Dhaka received on Thursday two large consignments of the Covishield vaccine made by the Serum Institute of India. The two South Asian leaders spoke as India prepared 1.5 million Covishield doses that will be flown to Myanmar in a special flight on Friday.

Listen: Explaining India’s Vaccine Diplomacy, in the neighbourhood and beyond | The Hindu In Focus Podcast

“Nepal appreciates this gesture from a friendly neighbour,” said Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli in a social media message soon after he personally received a part of the consignment from Indian ambassador in Kathmandu Vinay Mohan Kwatra. Mr. Oli thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the people of India for the ‘generous’ supply of the vaccine at a “critical time” in India’s domestic vaccination process.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina also thanked Mr. Modi during a press conference held at her official residence Gonobhabon on Thursday evening. Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal said he will take the first shot. Dhaka’s Daily Star has reported that Bharat Biotech has sought permission for clinical trials of the Covaxin in the country.

Earlier in the day, two million doses of the Covishield vaccine were flown to Dhaka and one million doses of the vaccine were sent to Kathmandu in a special flight. Bhutan and the Maldives received the vaccine consignments on Wednesday.

Apart from the supply of the vaccine, India has also conducted a training workshop during January 19-20 for health officials and workers of Bangladesh, Bhutan, the Maldives, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Bahrain, Brazil, Mauritius, Morocco, Oman, Seychelles and Sri Lanka.

“National and provincial level officials, cold chain officials and partners from WHO and UNICEF participated,” a source said explaining that the programme covered important issues like “logistics, cold chain management, safe injection practices and waste management”. The interactions also dealt with the course of action to be taken in case of adverse events following vaccination.

As part of the ongoing Vaccine Maitri programme for “neighbouring and key partner countries”, Yangon will receive a consignment of 1.5 million doses of Covishield on Friday. India had earlier provided COVID-related assistance to Myanmar to the tune of ₹9.380 crore. In October 2020, a second tranche of vials and Remdesivir were provided to Yangon. Seychelles too is expected to receive the vaccine shortly.

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