Accusing the Congress and other parties spreading the politically-motivated lies on the Covid-19 vaccines, the BJP on Wednesday defended supply of 6.5 crore vaccine doses to the foreign countries, pointing out that only 16% of the doses — 1.07 crore — were supplied abroad as aid to foreign countries and that include 78.5 lakh doses to 7 neighbours.
Its national spokesman Dr Sambit Patra said coronavirus does not respect any borders and it was necessary to help the neighbours with the vaccines to ensure the disease does not spread in India from them. Under the same aid category, 2 lakh vaccine doses were given to the UN Peace Keeping Force where some 6,600 Indians are engaged for establishing peace in various countries.
Patra said remaining 84% vaccine doses — over 5 crore — had to be supplied as part of the commercial and licensing liability of the two makers who had entered into agreements with the foreign nations who had made the advance payments. He said as much as 12.5% of this has gone to Saudi Arabia, which is India’s friendly country and which has a large number of Indians being given both the doses free of cost.
He explained the Pune’s Seerum Institute of India (SII) has got the licence to make Covishield from Oxford-AstraZeneca. He said the WHO has created a Covaxe facility for cooperation by countries in exchange for licence and raw material. India had to give 30% doses to this facility while 14% went to Britain since the Covishield is a product developed by Oxford-AstraZeneca.
On Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal's demand to the Centre to make public the vaccine formula, Patra said SII does not have licence of the vaccine and as such India cannot make public its formula. The formula can become public only when all countries in the UN’s TRIPS agree to waive off the patent right. India and South Africa are already lobbying for it and nations like the US has supported the idea, but no call has been taken by from the United Nations.