Indian coronavirus vaccines arrive in Sri Lanka

The coronavirus vaccines that were gifted by India arrived in Sri Lanka today (28) in a special Air India flight.

Under the Government of India’s #VaccineMaitri programme, India has gifted 500,000 doses of made-in-India Covishield vaccines to Sri Lanka.

The consignment was transported in a special Air India flight and packed in tailor-made boxes.

Indian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka Gopal Bagley formally handed over the consignment to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa at the Bandaranaike International Airport in Katunayake (BIA) today.

Oxford-AstraZeneca’s Covishield vaccine is manufactured by the Serum Institute of India. This has been approved for emergency use by the Government of Sri Lanka.

The gift from India aligns with India’s extended support to Sri Lanka in fighting the COVID pandemic. Four consignments of medical supplies weighing around 25 tonnes were donated by India; the neighbouring country also organised online experience-sharing programmes for Sri Lankan medical professionals. The two bilateral partners also put up a joint front in the COVID-19 battle with India and Sri Lanka being the largest contributors to the COVID-19 Emergency Fund for SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Co-operation). Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had complimented Sri Lanka’s leadership on containing the pandemic.

Guided by ‘Neighbourhood First’ and (SAGAR) Security and Growth for All in the Region policies, about 5 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been gifted to neighbouring countries, and those in the Gulf and Indian Ocean since 20 January 2021.  Millions of doses of made-in-India COVID vaccines have also been exported to countries as far away as Latin America and West Asia, and will continue to reach those in the Caribbean and the Pacific too. In September 2020, Prime Minister Modi told the United Nations (UN) that India’s vaccine capacity will be used to help all humanity fight the COVID pandemic. India, which is called the ‘Pharmacy of the World’, supplied essential medicines to fight COVID-19 to 150 countries, more than half of which was as gift. (Colombo Gazette)