February 27, 2021

India is to send COVID-19 vaccines to Canada as diplomatic tensions ease

India’s serum company will ship COVID-19 vaccines to Canada within a month, its CEO said on Monday. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s comments on political protests in India are a sign of a relaxed diplomatic hierarchy.

Trudeau spoke of months of protests by farmers on the outskirts of Delhi, which drew condemnation from the Indian government, which said it was an internal affair.

Last week, however, Trudeau spoke with Indian envoy Narendra Modi and they discussed the two countries’ commitment to democracy.

Modi said India would do everything possible to provide the Govt-19 vaccines requested by Canada.

Adar Poonawalla on Monday reaffirmed the commitment of the CEO of the Serum Institute of India (SII), the world’s largest vaccine maker.

“While we wait for regulatory approvals from Canada, erSerumInstIndia will fly #COVISHIELD to Canada within a month; I’m in it!” Poonavalla said in a tweet using the brand name of the shot serum produced by Oxford University and AstroGeneca PLC.

SII has emerged as a major vaccine supplier among the epidemic in India. Canada, like many other countries, relies on foreign materials because it is unable to produce the vaccine domestically.

Experts and officials say India is trying to use its vaccine dominance to gain diplomatic support.

Procurement Minister Anita Anand said the Union government would announce the details when a deal is finalized.

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“Minister Anand is making every effort to ensure that Canada gets the vaccines as soon as possible from a variety of suppliers. We will notify you when any contract is finalized,” James Fitz-Morris said in an email.

Health Canada is considering two separate applications for vaccine approval, developed by researchers AstraZeneca and Oxford University, which has a joint venture with SII, a private company based in Pune, West India.

AstraZeneca Canada filed its application for the vaccine with Health Canada in October. Just last month, Canada’s Variety Drugs and SII – capable of producing about 2.4 million doses a day – filed a separate application.

Canada has an agreement with AstraZeneca 20 million dose.

The World Health Organization (WHO) on Monday listed Astrogeneneka and Oxford University’s COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use, expanding access to relatively inexpensive shots in developing countries.

The WHO report said that the vaccine was approved by the AstraZeneca-SKPO and Serum Institute of India.