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India becomes first country to give Covid vaccine to Afghanistan

Prashasti Awasthi Mumbai | Updated on February 08, 2021

5,00,000 doses of Bharat Biotech’s Covishield shipped

India shipped 5,00,000 doses of its Covid-19 vaccine to Afghanistan, becoming the first country to provide Kabul with the coronavirus vaccine, Arab News reported.

Dastargir Nazari, a Health Ministry spokesman, told Arab News on Sunday: “Fortunately, we are going to receive 500,000 doses of the vaccine today.”

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Kabul has decided to roll out Bharat Biotech’s Covishield jab — the local name for the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine developed in the UK — from next week, after securing certification from the World Health Organization.

Masooma Jafari, another spokesman for the ministry, revealed that the front line workers in the country will be the first to get inoculated, followed by school teachers, prisoners, security forces, and the elderly.

“This is part of our joint efforts to tackle the pandemic …” Tahir Qadery, minister-counsellor for Afghanistan (Charge d’Affaires) in India, told Arab News.

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“The vaccines will enable us to be well-prepared to move towards normalcy. Our Indian counterparts have assured us of more vaccines in the future. This is a great gesture of humanity, and we are deeply grateful,” he added.

China pledge

Nazari further revealed that the Chinese Embassy in Kabul has also pledged to donate 200,000 doses to Afghanistan.

A government source of Arab News noted that China has also promised to “give vaccines to Taliban insurgents for use in areas under their control.”

Torek Farhadi, an adviser for the former Afghani government, said: “It is much appreciated by the Afghans. China has promised vaccines to Taliban as well, but India scores points with Kabul by being the first country to send vaccines to Afghanistan.”

Afghanistan has so far reported 55,330 cases of the coronavirus, with 2,408 deaths and 48,027 recovered, as per Worldometer dashboard.

Published on February 08, 2021

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