'India has been generous; others are hoarding vaccines'
First Published Feb 18, 2021, 5:25 PM IST
The 14-member CARICOM states also included India's name in its resolution for generously supplying beneficial quantities of the vaccines to several Caribbean countries. Anish Singh reports
Insisting on the equitable distribution of Covid-19 vaccines, the Caribbean Community States have expressed deep gratitude and appreciated India's role in providing vaccines in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.
Presented by Antigua and Barbuda Ambassador Sir Ronald Sanders, the Permanent Council of the Organization of American States adopted the CARICOM-sponsored resolution on equitable distribution of Covid-19 vaccines.
The 14 CARICOM States also included India's name in its resolution for generously supplying beneficial quantities of the vaccines to several Caribbean countries.
Talking to Asianet Newsable, Ambassador Sanders said, "India has been outstanding in showing support for developing countries in the Caribbean at a time when developed countries, representing only 15 per cent of the world’s population have bought for themselves 60 per cent of available vaccines. India has demonstrated that it is a caring nation and is an example to the world in international cooperation at a time of global crisis."
"India has not sought to extract any conditions for its generosity to countries that have no vaccines," he said.
The resolution asked the vaccine-producing countries to increase the production, faster distribution and low-cost financing from international financial institutions so that developing countries can buy needed stocks.
Speaking for CARICOM, Ambassador Sanders told the OAS that its 34-member states accounted for 45 per cent of the infected cases and 48 per cent of the deaths globally.
"That is almost half the global number of infected cases and nearly half the number of deaths in the world."
He further added that the majority of developing states, including in Latin America and the Caribbean, are still without stocks of vaccines but 'some developed countries have ordered vaccines, in one case five times the size of its population, and are hoarding them, at a time when they are desperately needed throughout the world'.
Presenting grim figures for the member states of the OAS, Ambassador Sanders emphasized that only two countries have managed to give one shot of vaccines to over 10 per cent of their populations. The countries include the US at 12 per cent and Chile at 10 per cent.
Dr KJ Srinivasa, Indian High Commissioner accredited to the CARICOM Secretariat, conveyed that the statement seems to echo the general sentiments of the CARICOM region.
India's role as the first responder during crises and as the "pharmacy of the world" are now recognized throughout the region and this 'Vaccine Maitri' will go a long way in further consolidating India's role as a world leader.
Further, he revealed that only three other countries have inoculated over one per cent of their people, but none of the remaining 29 member states has sufficient vaccines to inoculate more than 0.95% of their people.
The Antigua and Barbuda diplomat also warned the developed nations that "even if they are fully vaccinated by the middle of this year, and poor countries remain largely shut out, the global economy would suffer losses exceeding $9 trillion, a sum greater than the annual output of Japan and Germany combined".
"No one will benefit," he said.
The Organisation of American States is a group of 34 countries including the US, Canada, Brazil, Mexico and Argentina. On February 8, India delivered two consignments of Covid-19 vaccines to Barbados and Dominica, a part of CARICOM, under its Vaccine Maitri initiative.
A few days back, India had announced a humanitarian donation of 5.7 lakh doses of vaccines for the Caribbean Region.
Countries including Antigua and Barbuda, the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Montserrat, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Trinidad and Tobago, Suriname, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, are CARICOM countries.
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