The 2,00,000 doses of Covid-19 vaccines, announced as a gift by India, will be sent to the UN peacekeepers on March 27 and then will be distributed to the peacekeeping missions.
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar had announced in February that India will gift 200,000 Covid-19 doses for UN peacekeepers.
“Keeping in mind the UN Peacekeepers who operate in such difficult circumstances, we would like to announce today a gift of 2,00,000 doses for them,” Jaishankar said had said while addressing the UN Security Council open debate on the implementation of resolution 2532 (2020) on the cessation of hostilities in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Quoting the Bhagvad Gita, Jaishankar had said “Do your work with the welfare of others always in mind.”
The 2,00,000 doses essentially mean that it will be possible to administer the required double doses of Covid-19 vaccines to all UN peacekeepers across missions. According to UN Peacekeeping, as of January 31, 2021, a total of 85,782 personnel are serving in 12 peacekeeping operations across the world led by the Department of Peace Operations.
A total of 121 nations are contributing uniformed personnel to the UN peacekeeping missions. India is traditionally among the largest troop contributing countries to peacekeeping missions.
Sources said the 2,00,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine will depart Mumbai via Qatar Airways on March 27. The shipment will go to Copenhagen, where it will be safely stored in a facility, re-packaged and quickly distributed to peacekeeping missions for the peacekeepers.
The Oxford-AstraZeneca's Covishield is being manufactured by Pune-based Serum Institute. The SII has collaborated with Oxford University and pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca for making the vaccine.
Covaxin is the indigenously developed vaccine by pharma company Bharat Biotech.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres had said that he is “extremely grateful” for the gift of 2,00,000 Covid-19 vaccine doses for UN peacekeepers announced by India, the world's biggest drugmaker.
Under India’s ‘Vaccine Maitri’ initiative, which translates into Vaccine Friendship, the country has been providing vaccines to nations across the world -- from India’s immediate neighbours to countries in Latin America and Africa -- and is a significant source of supply to the COVAX facility.
More than 58 million Made in India coronavirus vaccine doses have reached about 70 countries in recent weeks.