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India’s vaccine diplomacy wins friends in Caribbean, draws global praise

NEW DELHI: India is winning praise for making thousands of vaccine shots available to poorer nations even as several rich nations are being accused of hoarding supplies.
India is now supplying tens of thousands of free Covid-19 shots to Caribbean countries left behind by rich nations in the race to procure vaccines, according to a Bloomberg report.

India has already “gifted” or sold millions of doses to neighbouring countries including Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Seychelles and the Maldives.
The Indian-made shots offer poorer countries an alternative to Chinese vaccines, which Beijing has been pushing across the region.
The external affairs ministry said it plans to supply vaccines — mostly free of charge — to 49 countries in Latin America, the Caribbean, Asia and Africa.
So far, India has distributed 22.9 million doses under its “Vaccine Friendship” programme out of which 64.7 lakh doses have been supplied as a grant.

On Thursday, Dominican Republic interior minister Raquel Pena said that India had donated 30,000 doses to her country.
That’s on the heels of the 70,000 doses India donated to Dominica — enough to vaccinate the whole population — and 10,000 it provided to Barbados earlier this month.
India has also promised to gift 200,000 doses to UN peacekeepers around the world.

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