Quad-supported vaccine roll-out to begin in first half

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U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne, Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar and Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi during a press conference of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad) foreign ministers in Melbourne, Australia, February 11, 2022. REUTERS/Sandra Sanders

MUMBAI – The first batch of COVID-19 vaccines that are part of the Quad group of countries’ pledge to donate shots across the world, manufactured by India’s Biological E, will roll out in the first half of 2022, the grouping said in a statement on Friday.

Last year, Australia, Japan, India and the United States, the grouping known as the Quad, promised to supply more than a billion COVID-19 vaccines worldwide by the end of 2022.

“We are pleased with the Quad Vaccine Partnership’s rapid progress in expanding vaccine production at the Biological E Ltd facility in India, which aims to deliver at least 1 billion vaccines by the end of 2022,” a statement released after a meeting of Quad foreign ministers in the Australian city of Melbourne on Friday said.

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The statement did not specify quantities of vaccines, nor to which countries they would go to.

In September last year, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi told Quad leaders that the country, the largest producers of vaccines in the world, would allow the export of 8 million COVID-19 vaccines by end of October 2021.

The country, hit by a devastating second wave of the coronavirus, stopped vaccine exports for most of 2021 as it scrambled to inoculate its 950 million adult population.

“We are assisting to train healthcare workers, combat vaccine hesitancy and augment infrastructure, especially cold chain systems, for ‘last mile’ vaccine delivery,” the Quad leaders said in the statement.

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