SOURCE: Business Standard — Amid the rising health and economic woes caused by the pandemic, Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley has requested India for access to vaccines to provide immunisation coverage for their country, which has been ravaged by COVID-19.
In a letter addressed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Barbados PM has asked access to 200,000 doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine being manufactured in India.
“We are in urgent need of your assistance and support at this very difficult time. Barbados is very much in need of access to vaccines to provide the necessary immunization coverage for a large segment of our population of 287,000,” the letter said.
“It is in this regard, that I am urgently soliciting the assistance of your Government to have access to 200,000 doses (for 100,000 citizens) of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine being manufactured in your country. We would appreciate your kind consideration of half of the supply and, if necessary, we would be willing to purchase the other 100,000 doses should it meet your favorable consideration,” the letter further said.
Talking about the coronavirus impact, Barbados PM wrote: “We have had a 90 per cent reduction in our tourist arrivals over the last year, leading to a significant reduction in Government revenue and economic activity nationally.”
“If we are to keep control over containing the pandemic and its deleterious impact on our health services and our national security situation, it means that persons who are on the front-line of our response to COVID-19 across the medical, protective services and border agencies will need to get immediate access to vaccines,” the letter said.
This letter comes at a time when the international community has praised India’s support to the global COVID-19 response.
World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus today expressed gratitude to India and Prime Minister Narendra Modi for continued support for the fight against the pandemic.
“Thank you India and Prime Minister Narendra Modi for your continued support to the global COVID-19 response. Only if we #ACTogether, including sharing of knowledge, can we stop this virus and save lives and livelihoods,” Tedros tweeted.
In a bid to fight the pandemic, India has supplied COVID-19 vaccines to its neighbours including Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, Myanmar and Bangladesh.
Large consignments of Covishield vaccine doses were flown in special Indian aircraft to Seychelles, Mauritius and Myanmar on Friday. Contractual supplies are also being undertaken to Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Morocco, Bangladesh and Myanmar.
The United States on Friday “applauded” India for gifting COVID-19 vaccines to several countries including the Maldives, Bhutan and Bangladesh, saying New Delhi is a “true friend”, which is using its pharma industry to help the global community.