Updated: May 13, 2021 7:48:19 am
With its government being questioned over the decision to send vaccines to foreign countries, the ruling BJP on Wednesday accused the Opposition parties of spreading misinformation about India’s vaccine programme and said around 84 per cent of doses sent under ‘Vaccine Maitri’ were part of commercial and licencing liabilities of the Indian manufacturers.
BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra, while addressing a virtual press conference, said 1.07 crore vaccine doses sent abroad were India’’s aid to different countries and noted that of those, 78.5 lakh were dispatched to seven neighbouring countries. “A safer neighbourhood is good for India too,” he said.
Patra said more than two lakh doses were given to the UN peace-keeping force, in which over 6,600 Indian soldiers are deployed. He accused the AAP and Congress, especially Rahul Gandhi, of spreading misinformation that the Narendra Modi government has exported over 6.63 crore vaccine doses abroad while not using those to inoculate Indians.
Sending over 5.50 crore vaccine doses abroad was the compulsion of the two Indian manufacturers as it was part of their commercial and licensing liabilities, Patra said.
Patra pointed out that the intellectual property rights over Covishield, manufactured in the country by the Serum Institute of India (SII), are with Astrazeneca, a foreign firm and that the SII was obliged to send a part of the vaccines produced by it abroad.
The SII and Covaxin manufacturer Bharat Biotech have sent vaccine doses abroad as they had signed an agreement to procure raw materials for preparing the jabs, the BJP leader added.
“This misinformation is being spread that Indians were ignored and vaccines were sent abroad. In this global era, no country can exist as an island and there has to be cooperative globalisation,” he said.
On Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s demand that the Centre should share the vaccine formula of the two Indian manufacturers with other capable pharmaceutical companies to scale up production in the country, Patra said the SII cannot do it because it has only been given the sub-license by Astrazeneca, which has the intellectual property rights over it.
The vaccine indigenously prepared by Bharat Biotech requires a high level of biosafety, which only a few firms are capable of preparing, and the Centre is holding talks with them, including some public sector undertakings (PSUs), to scale up its production, he added.
All institutions are working day and night to boost vaccine production, Patra said, asking Kejriwal and other AAP leaders not to politicise the issue.
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