Canada receives 500,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccines from India, 1.5 million more to arrive before May
Toronto/IBNS: In response to the commitment made by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to his Canadian counterpart Trudeau on Feb 10, a consignment of half-a-million doses of the India-made Covishield vaccines (AstraZeneca vaccines) were airlifted to Canada from the Asian country on a commercial cargo flight and arrived in Toronto Wednesday morning.
The first tranche of 2 million vaccines that are to be supplied by May as part of a commercial agreement between the Serum Institute of India and Verity Pharmaceuticals of Canada was received by Ajay Bisaria, High Commissioner of India to Canada accompanied by the Federal Minister of Public Services and Procurement Anita Anand at the Innomar warehouse in Toronto.
Anand leads Canadian efforts to procure vaccines and played a key role in concluding the deal with the Serum Institute.
Congratulating Verity CEO, Howard Glase on this pioneering deal Bisaria said, “India is proud to support Canada’s vaccination program. With more than 60 percent of global vaccine manufacturing capacity, India believes in vaccine internationalism and is providing a healing hand as the world recovers from this deadly pandemic.”
Bisaria added that the supply of vaccines was a reflection of the strategic partnership between India and Canada and underlined India’s commitment, as the pharmacy of the world, to help the global family combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
Addressing the United Nations (UN) in Sep 2020, Modi assured the world that India which represents over 60 per cent of the global vaccine production capacities would be shared with the rest of the world.
Viewing the COVID-19 pandemic as a global humanitarian crisis, India with its advanced pharmaceutical and vaccine manufacturing capacities has provided personal protection equipment, medicines, and respirators to other nations as assistance in their respective battles with COVID-19.
While undertaking the largest immunization program in the world with 16 million already vaccinated and 270 million expected to be covered by July, India has balanced domestic requirements of vaccines with overseas commitments by providing vaccine doses to more than 40 other countries across the world as part of its Vaccine Maitri initiative, both as gifts and on a commercial basis.
As a member of the GAVI-COVAX alliance, India has also pledged to supply an additional 10 million doses to Africa and 1 million doses to UN health workers.
(Reporting by Asha Bajaj)