China plays down reports of India beating it in vaccine diplomacy

International

New Delhi, 28 February: China on Friday welcomed India supplying more COVID-19 vaccines to a number of countries, playing down reports that New Delhi has beaten Beijing in its vaccine diplomacy around the world.

Responding to a question on a report that India has beaten China in its own game of vaccine diplomacy, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin during a media briefing said, “We welcome that and hope to see more countries taking actions to provide vaccines to the world, especially developing countries, to help with the global response.”

China has been overcoming domestic difficulties to provide vaccines to other countries in concrete measure,” he said, flagging China’s own vaccine requirement to inoculate its 1.4 billion population.

He reiterated that China has been providing vaccines to 53 countries and exporting vaccines to 27 countries, amid reports that many of those countries are yet to receive Chinese vaccines or the promised quantities.

India on Wednesday dispatched the first batch of six lakh COVID-19 vaccine doses to Ghana under the COVAX facility, an international cooperative programme formed to make sure low- and middle-income countries have fair access to COVID-19 vaccines.

Besides neighbouring countries like Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bangladesh and Maldives where China competed with India in expanding its influence, New Delhi has delivered vaccines to numerous countries, a substantial amount of doses freely well ahead of Beijing’s offers to supply the jabs.

WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has lauded Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s commitment for supporting vaccine equity and sharing COVID-19 vaccines with over 60 countries across the world, hoping that other nations will follow his example.

India, the largest drug producer in the world, is currently manufacturing two COVID-19 vaccines – Covishield and Covaxin. While Oxford-AstraZeneca’s Covishield is being manufactured by the Serum Institute of India in Pune, Covaxin is being produced by Bharat Biotech.

 

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