India promises more COVID-19 shots to Omicron-affected Africa after Chinese move – Community News

India promises more COVID-19 shots to Omicron-affected Africa after Chinese move

A health official takes a dose of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine, manufactured by the Serum Institute of India, at the Infectious Diseases Hospital in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Jan. 29, 2021. REUTERS/Dinuka Liyanawatte/File Photo

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NEW DELHI, Nov. 30 (Reuters) – India stands ready to send more COVID-19 vaccine to Africa “quickly” to help fight its Omicron variant, New Delhi said late Monday after China pledged 1 billion doses to the continent .

India and China have close ties to many African countries, but Beijing has pumped much more money into the region, pledging another $10 billion on Monday to invest. read more

India said it had supplied more than 25 million doses of domestically-made shots to 41 African countries, mainly through the global vaccine distribution network COVAX.

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“The Government of India stands ready to support affected countries in Africa in dealing with the Omicron variant, including through the provision of Made-in-India vaccines,” the foreign ministry said in a statement.

“Deliveries can be made through COVAX or bilaterally.”

It said the government had approved all orders placed by COVAX for the delivery of the AstraZeneca (AZN.L) vaccine to countries such as Malawi, Ethiopia, Zambia, Mozambique, Guinea and Lesotho, except to deliver doses of the homegrown Covaxin shot to Botswana. It did not say how many doses have been approved recently.

“Any new requirement projected bilaterally or through COVAX will be considered urgently,” it said, also promising the supply of life-saving drugs, test kits, gloves, PPE kits and medical equipment such as ventilators as needed.

India last month resumed overseas shipments of COVID-19 vaccines for the first time since April, when it banned exports from vaccinating its own citizens as infections surged.

Domestic vaccine production has since more than tripled to about 300 million doses per month. The country has administered at least one dose to 83% of its 944 million adults and two doses to 47%.

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Reporting by Krishna N. Das; Editing by Stephen Coates

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