Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya on Friday informed the parliament that India and its vaccines industry had supplied 70 per cent of global vaccines up until now. Responding to a question in the Lok Sabha on the coronavirus pandemic, Mandaviya gave astonishing figures.
The minister said, “I am proud of our vaccine industry that supplies 70 percent of the global requirement of vaccines, but you have to understand that this research was done in our (Modi government’s) time. ZyCoV-D and Covaxin are fully developed in India and Covishield is being manufactured in India through technology transfer,”
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India had to wait decades for vaccines: PM Modi
The achievement is momentous as India earlier used to be at the mercy of foreign nations in procuring the vaccines. Earlier this year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had also talked about India’s bleak vaccination history. The PM stated that a poor country like India had to wait decades for the vaccines to arrive.
“If you look at the history of vaccinations in India, whether it was a vaccine for smallpox, hepatitis B or polio, you will see that India would have to wait decades for procuring vaccines from abroad. When vaccination programmes ended in other countries, it wouldn’t have even begun in our country,”
And it is indeed true, India took more than 50 years to defeat polio when the disease could have been eradicated much earlier if the West had shown urgency in supplying the vaccine. They kept profits at the forefront while the vaccination drive moved at a snail’s pace.
However, the attitude of the Western countries and big pharms has not changed significantly even today. While India has become self-sufficient, poor countries in Africa are still struggling to inoculate their populace.
Presently, less than 5 per cent of Africa has been fully vaccinated and the emergence of Omicron threatens to undo the good work of the vaccines.
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Modi government cleared the hurdles in the vaccine production process: Mandaviya
Mandaviya in his speech also talked about how the Modi government got rid of the bureaucratic red-tapism and ensured that the entire vaccine-making process was smoothened.
He said, “Earlier, just permissions for that research required three years. We eased those processes. It was Modiji who told scientists that I trust you, you work hard and I will support you,”
Signing off, Mandaviya took a dig at the opposition which had dubbed indigenous developed vaccine-like Covaxin as the BJP vaccine.
Mandaviya said, “They questioned Indian scientists and the vaccines developed by them so that people started getting scared. They tried to frighten people by saying this is a BJP vaccine and this is a Modi vaccine.”
Reported extensively by TFI, it was Samajwadi Party leader Akhilesh Yadav that had first termed Covaxin as a BJP vaccine. His party members went one step further and claimed that taking the vaccine could lead to impotence, thereby creating an environment of misinformation, fear, and psychosis around the vaccine.
However, battling the big pharma’s and hostile opposition, India has still managed to come out on top and is playing the role of ‘Vishwaguru’ to perfection.