INDIA will supply made-in-India Covid-19 vaccines to Pakistan

News Desk: INDIA will supply made-in-India Covid-19 vaccines to Pakistan through the Covax facility, which is the global alliance for supplying vaccines across the world, sources said on Tuesday.

They said Pakistan will get the vaccines under the global facility. The quantum has not yet been arrived at, and it could take some more time before the logistics and the approvals come through. But, it will go directly from India to Pakistan.

Pakistan’s drug regulator, Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan, had approved Oxford-AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine for emergency use in January this year. This was the first Covid-19 vaccine to be granted approval.

India has supplied vaccines at least 65 countries so far under three categories – under Covax, in the form of grant (free of cost) and through commercial sales.

According to the Ministry of External Affairs records, 579.19 lakh doses have been supplied in all. About 163 lakh doses have been supplied under Covax, 77 lakh doses under grant and 338 lakh doses under commercial deals. Bangladesh tops list of countries that have got vaccines with 90 lakh doses.

The thinking in Islamabad is that it can get the vaccine through the Covax facility. Covax is an alliance set up by Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation, Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations and World Health Organization in April last year. It has pledged provision of free vaccines for 20 per cent of the population in around 190 countries, including Pakistan.

A source said that one of the vaccine manufacturers in India has reached out to the Pakistan government to supply vaccines in the past few months.

While bilateral trade between India and Pakistan has been adversely impacted with the deterioration in ties in 2019, the supply of “life-saving medicines” is exempt and can be done through the bilateral route.

Bilateral trade has almost stopped in the past two years – first after the Pulwama terror attack of February 2019, and later after the special status of Jammu and Kashmir was withdrawn and the state was bifurcated into two Union Territories.