A healthcare worker receives a dose of Covishield, inside a school converted into a temporary vaccination centre, Ahmedabad, January 28, 2021. Photo: Reuters/Amit Dave.
New Delhi: India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the country would release more locally made COVID-19 vaccines as New Delhi continues to save the lives of people in other countries by exporting medicines and vaccines.
“So far only two made-in-India vaccines have been introduced, but in the future many more vaccines will be made available,” Modi said at a virtual meeting of the World Economic Forum, adding India had fulfilled its global responsibilities by setting up infrastructure related to vaccination.
Modi also said India will issue health identity cards to 1.3 billion citizens.
The South Asian nation, one of the world’s biggest makers of medicines, is producing two vaccines – Covishield, licensed from Oxford University and AstraZeneca, and Covaxin, developed at home by Bharat Biotech in partnership with Indian Council of Medical Research.
Covishield is being produced at a western Indian facility of the Serum Institute of India, the world’s biggest vaccine maker. India is exporting the vaccine to several countries including neighbouring nations.
Indian firm Zydus Cadila is also developing an indigenous DNA-based vaccine, ZyCov-D, at its facility in Ahmedabad, Gujarat.
Modi said India has taken steps to overcome the shock posed by the spread of COVID-19 and has been carrying out reforms to improve its economy.
India’s economy, Asia’s third largest, is expected to contract 7.7% in the current financial year ending in March, the worst performance in four decades, as a COVID-19 related lockdown hit economic and industrial activity.
“I want to assure the business world that the situation will now change rapidly on the economic front also,” he said, adding India’s push for self-reliance through local manufacturing is aimed at turning the country into an export hub.
India believes in opening all sectors for private players and would provide support to companies looking at investing in the country, he added.
“Our [Atma Nirbhar, or self-reliance, policy] is committed towards global good and global supply chain. India has the capacity, capability and reliability to strengthen the global supply chain,” he said, adding India would continue to strengthen its infrastructure.
(Reuters – reporting by Nidhi Verma and Sanjeev Miglani; editing by David Goodman, William Maclean)