Quad leaders welcome India's announcement to resume exports of vaccines in October

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Washington [US], September 25 (ANI): Leaders of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad) on Friday appreciated India's announcement to resume exports of Covid-19 vaccines in October.

In a first in-person Quad Leaders' Summit hosted by US President Joe Biden and joined by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Japan's Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, PM Modi announced resuming exports of safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines, including to COVAX, beginning in October 2021.

"The Quad also welcomes India's announcement to resume exports of safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines, including to COVAX, beginning in October 2021," read the Quad joint statement.

In addition, Japan and Australia have also pledged to purchase vaccines.

"Japan will continue to help regional partners purchase vaccines through USD 3.3 billion of COVID-19 Crisis Response Emergency Support Loan. Australia will deliver USD 212 million in grant aid to purchase vaccines for Southeast Asia and the Pacific. In addition, Australia will allocate USD 219 million to support last-mile vaccine rollouts and lead in coordinating the Quad's last-mile delivery efforts in those regions," said the statement.

Quad countries have pledged to donate more than 1.2 billion vaccine doses globally, in addition to the doses financed through COVAX.

"Our partnership on COVID-19 response and relief marks a historic new focus for the Quad. We launched the Quad Vaccine Experts Group, comprised of top experts from our respective governments, charged with building strong ties and better aligning our plans to support Indo-Pacific health security and COVID-19 response," said Quad countries in a joint statement, as quoted by White House.

Quad countries have also shared assessments of the state of the pandemic and aligned efforts to combat it.

"In doing so, we have shared assessments of the state of the pandemic and aligned our efforts to combat it, reinforced shared diplomatic principles for mitigating COVID-19 in the region, and actively improved coordination of our efforts to support safe, effective, quality-assured vaccine production and equitable access, in close collaborations with multilateral efforts including the COVAX Facility," said the statement.

In addition to doses financed through COVAX, Australia, India, Japan, and the United States have pledged to donate more than 1.2 billion doses globally of safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines.

"To date, we have delivered nearly 79 million safe, effective, and quality-assured vaccine doses to countries in the Indo-Pacific as part of those commitments," said the statement.

The Quad leaders also thanked Quad Vaccine Partnerships for increasing manufacturing capacity at Hyderabad-based Biological E LTD saying that additional production in India will come online later this year.

"In line with our March announcement, and recognizing the continuing global supply gap, we will ensure this expanded manufacturing is exported for the Indo-Pacific and the world, and we will coordinate with key multilateral initiatives, such as the COVAX Facility, to procure proven safe, effective and quality-assured COVID-19 vaccines for low- and middle-income countries. We also recognize the importance of open and secure supply chains for vaccine production," said the joint statement of Quad leaders.

"We have accomplished much to date despite months of pandemic hardship throughout the region and world. The Quad leaders welcome Biological E LTD's production, including through our Quad investments, of at least one billion safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines by the end of 2022. Today, we are proud to announce an initial step towards that supply that will immediately help the Indo-Pacific and the world to end the pandemic," added the statement.

The Quad leaders further said that they will strengthen Science and Technology (S&T) cooperation in the areas of clinical trials and genomic surveillance so that it can accelerate efforts to end this pandemic and build better health security.

"We are committed to aligning around shared global targets to help vaccinate the world, save lives now, and build back better, including by strengthening global health security financing and political leadership. Our countries will also conduct a joint pandemic-preparedness tabletop or exercise in 2022," added the statement.

Earlier, addressing a special press briefing on PM Modi's second day of engagements in the US, Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla said the discussions were wide-ranging including on vaccines.

Shringla had said: "There were discussions on vaccines. President Biden appreciated the decision of the Government of India to resume exports of vaccines from October. He said that the US announced a significant increase in their own efforts to distribute vaccines. This also come up in Quad. Indian vaccines which were of quality and affordable would also be scaled up significantly to make a difference in terms of the availability of vaccines and in dealing with vaccine inequity in the developing world. I think there is a great appreciation there on those factors." (ANI)

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