07:25 GMT01 March 2021
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    India began its "Vaccine Friendship" programme on 20 January and has supplied COVID-19 vaccines to several neighbouring countries, including Bangladesh, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Seychelles, and the Maldives. It has also sent vaccine doses to Caribbean countries, South Africa, and the UAE.

    The CEO of the world's biggest vaccine maker, the Serum Institute of India (SII), Adar Poonawalla has asked foreign governments that sought to procure the COVID-19 vaccine doses from India to be patient.

    Poonawalla tweeted that the SII "has been directed to prioritise the huge needs of India and along with that balance the needs of the rest of the world".

    The vaccine, which has been branded Covishield and co-developed by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford, was granted emergency approval in India and is being produced by the Pune-based SII.

    Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau recently called his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi and discussed his country's requirements for COVID-19 vaccines. Prime Minister Modi assured Trudeau that India would do its best to support Canada's vaccination efforts, just as it had done for many other countries already.

    On 14 February, Poonawalla also took to Twitter to assure the Canadian prime minister that his country's needs would be met as soon as next month:

    Since mid-January, India, which has registered more than 10.9 million cases of coronavirus since the outbreak of the pandemic, has vaccinated around 11 million people.


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