India as the world’s biggest vaccine maker will use its resources “for all humanity” in the battle against coronavirus, Prime Minister Narendra Modi told the United Nations yesterday.
In his address to the virtual UN General Assembly Modi made no direct mention of climate change or of India’s current border tussle with China following a clash in June when 20 Indian troops died, however.
“As the largest vaccine producing country of the world India’s vaccine production and delivery capacity will be used to help all humanity in fighting this crisis,” Modi said.
“India will also help all the countries in enhancing their cold chain and storage capacities for the delivery of the vaccines,” he said.
Modi said India was moving ahead with Phase 3 clinical trials - the large-scale trials considered the gold standard for determining safety and efficacy.
The prime minister said in August that India was ready to mass produce Covid-19 vaccines when scientists gave the go-ahead.
UN chief Antonio Guterres has been pushing for a “people’s vaccine” that is available and affordable everywhere and expressed concern on Tuesday that some countries were “reportedly making side deals exclusively for their own populations.”
“Such ‘vaccinationalism’ is not only unfair, it is self-defeating. None of us is safe until all of us are safe. Everybody knows that,” he told the General Assembly.
On Friday Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison had insisted in his speech to the UN that any nation that develops a Covid-19 vaccine share it universally.
Morrison made the strongly worded appeal as the United States resists global efforts to collaborate on a vaccine.
“This is a global responsibility and it’s a moral responsibility for a vaccine to be shared far and wide,” Morrison had said.
“Whoever finds the vaccine must share it,” he said.
“Some might see short-term advantage, or even profit,” Morrison said.
“But I assure you to anyone who may think along those lines, humanity will have a very long memory and be a very, very severe judge.
“Australia’s pledge is clear: if we find the vaccine we will share it. That’s the pledge we all must make,” Morrison said.
Meanwhile, Adar Poonawalla, the CEO of the Serum Institute of India (SII), yesterday said Rs800bn will be the cost of vaccinating everyone in India with the Covid-19 vaccine whenever it is available and asked the Indian government whether the money will be available over the next one year to buy the vaccine and distribute it to everyone.
SII is the world’s largest manufacturer of vaccines and is conducting trials of Covid vaccine candidate being developed by AstraZeneca.
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