Guatemala President Alejandro Giammattei expressed his gratitude to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday as India donated 2,00,000 doses of the Covishield to help the North American country battle COVID-19. Giammattei thanked PM Modi for donating the vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and manufactured India rather than selling it. He added that the Government of India did not ‘hesitate’ to support Guatemala after Modi’s administration learnt of difficulties it faced in battling the virus.
“I would like to start by thanking Prime Minister of India Mr. Narendra Modi and the External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar for accepting our call for assistance for supply of Covishield vaccines, manufactured in India. It has been a grand surprise for us to know that India, rather than selling the vaccine, has donated 200 thousand doses to us that will help us immunize frontline health workers,” Giammattei said in a video shared by the Indian Embassy in Guatemala on Twitter.
“Before concluding, I would like to once again thank the government, the people of India for this gesture of donating these vaccines, as they learned about the difficulties that we have gone through in the process of obtaining the vaccines from international suppliers. The Government of India did not hesitate to support us and in record time, we completed the necessary paperwork and sent them to India. The Prime Minister instructed to expedite the process of sending vaccines to Guatemala,” the Guatemala President added.
India’s Vaccine Maitri initiative
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s donation of 2,00,000 Covishield vaccines to Guatemala marks the extension of India’s ‘Vaccine Maitri Initiative’. Under the initiative, India has already started exporting COVID-19 vaccines manufactured in India to several countries across the globe upholding the country’s stature as ‘the World’s Pharma’.
So far, India has exported the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine manufactured by the Serum Institute of India (SII) and Bharat Biotech’s indigenous vaccine to more than 15 countries while another 25 countries are queued at different levels to receive supplies. These include Brazil, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Bhutan, Nepal, and Sri Lanka. Both the vaccines are already in circulation in India with healthcare workers receiving the jabs in the first phase of the immunization drive.
India has supplied 361.94 lakh doses of COVID-19 vaccines to various countries so far, the Ministry of External Affairs revealed on Thursday. While 67.5 lakh doses of the total vaccines have been supplied as grant assistance, 294.44 lakh are on a commercial basis, according to MEA spokesperson Anurag Srivastava.
WHO thanks PM Modi
The WHO chief had thanked the Prime Minister and India for sharing the Covid-19 vaccines which are the most essential commodity across the world in pandemic-ridden times. Dr Tedros said India’s commitment to COVAX and sharing COVID-19 vaccine doses is helping more than 60 countries to start vaccinating their health workers and other priority groups. He also expressed hope that more countries will follow India in sharing the vaccines.