Afghanistan on Sunday (February 7, 2021) received 5,00,000 doses of made-in-India COVID-19 vaccines, which will be used to vaccinate Afghan security forces and health workers.
The vaccine contingent reached on an Air India plane at Kabul’s Hamid Karzai International airport and was handed over by India’s Cd’A Raghuram S to the country’s acting minister of Public Health Waheed Majroh.
India, notably, is the first country to send coronavirus vaccines to Afghanistan.
In 2020 during the COVID-19 outbreak, India had sent 75000 MT of wheat to Afghanistan as humanitarian aid via Chabahar port to prevent any shortage of food amid the pandemic.
With the notable exception of Pakistan due to obvious reasons, all of India’s neighbours have been gifted COVID-19 vaccines by New Delhi.
Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Bhutan have even begun their vaccination program using India-made vaccines.
So far, India has supplied vaccines to 17 countries including Bhutan, Maldives, Bangladesh, Nepal, Myanmar, Mauritius, Seychelles, Sri Lanka, the UAE, Brazil, Morocco, Bahrain, Oman, Egypt, South Africa.
In the coming weeks, the Indian vaccines are scheduled to reach CARICOM countries (the Caribbean), Pacific Island States, Nicaragua, Mongolia, etc.
60% of global vaccines are produced by India, and apart from COVID-19 vaccines, India is the largest supplier of DPT, BCG and measles vaccines.
The World Health Organization (WHO) also sources 70% of its vaccine needs from India.