Quad To Harness India's Vaccine Manufacturing Prowess For Massive Covid Diplomacy Push In Indo-Pacific Region And Beyond
The leaders at the Quad summit made a commitment on Friday (12 March) to harness India's manufacturing prowess for a massive vaccine diplomacy project to deliver 1 billion doses to the Indo-Pacific region and beyond as the four-nation group eyes broader agenda.
India's vaccine development and manufacturing capabilities put it in the driver's seat in the project that is of imminent importance to the Quad.
"United in our fight against COVID-19, we launched a landmark Quad partnership to ensure accessibility of safe COVID-19 vaccines. India's formidable vaccine production capacity will be expanded with support from Japan, US & Australia to assist countries in the Indo-Pacific region," Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in a tweet.
According to a 'Fact Sheet' released on Friday (12 March), the Quad partners will launch a landmark partnership to further accelerate the end of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Together, Quad leaders are taking shared action necessary to expand safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine manufacturing in 2021, and will work together to strengthen and assist countries in the Indo-Pacific with vaccination, in close coordination with the existing relevant multilateral mechanisms including WHO and COVAX," the Fact Sheet said.
Under the initiative, the Quad partners plan to produce and deliver 1 billion doses of Covid-19 vaccine to various countries in the Indo-Pacific region and beyond.
Quad partners are working collaboratively to achieve expanded manufacturing of safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines at facilities in India, prioritizing increased capacity for vaccines authorized by Stringent Regulatory Authorities (SRA), the fact sheet said.
"Quad partners will address financing and logistical demands for production, procurement, and delivery of safe and effective vaccines. Quad partners will work to use our shared tools and expertise, through mechanisms at institutions including the United States Development Finance Corporation (DFC), Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), and, as appropriate, Japan Bank of International Cooperation (JBIC), as well as others," it added.
The group will also cooperate to strengthen "last-mile” vaccination, building on existing health-security and development programs, and across the member nation's governments to coordinate and strengthen their programs in the Indo-Pacific. This includes supporting countries with vaccine readiness and delivery, vaccine procurement, health workforce preparedness, responses to vaccine misinformation, community engagement, immunisation capacity etc.
"Australia will contribute US$77 million for the provision of vaccines and “last-mile” delivery support with a focus on Southeast Asia," the Fact Sheet said.
Japan will assist vaccination programs of developing countries such as the purchase of vaccines and cold-chain support including through provision of grant aid of $41 million and new concessional yen loans, ensuring alignment with and support of COVAX.
The United States will leverage existing programs to further boost vaccination capability, drawing on at least $100 million in regional efforts focused on immunisation, it said.
The Quad nations said that a senior-level Quad Vaccine Experts group, comprising of top scientists and officials from the four countries, will be launched to implement the commitments made during the summit.
This group will support Quad cooperation in the longterm, and use science and evidence to design an implementation plan for the Quad COVID-19 vaccine effort; identify hurdles impeding vaccine administration in the region; work with financers and production facilities to monitor timely and sufficient capacity expansion that will lead to wider distribution of safe and effective vaccines.
It will also share governmental plans to support Indo-Pacific health security and COVID-19 response, and identify practical cooperation on “last-mile” delivery for hard-to-reach communities in need.
The experts group will also strengthen and support the life-saving work of international organizations, including the WHO, COVAX, Gavi, CEPI, UNICEF, the G7, ASEAN, and governments.
(With inputs from IANS)
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