The Government of India’s gift of 40,000 Oxford AstraZeneca vaccines arrived on island earlier today, March 1, via a private charter from Mumbai.
The event, described as a momentous occasion, was attended by a number of dignitaries, including Prime Minister Gaston Browne; Health Minister Molwyn Joseph; Chief Medical Officer Dr. Rhonda Sealy-Thomas; and Foreign Affairs Minister Paul “Chet” Greene.
Indian diplomats also witnessed the arrival of the plane, which carried 175,000 vials of the vaccine.
In addition to Antigua and Barbuda, the drugs were destined for St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent & the Grenadines, and Suriname.
The Indian High Commissioner, Dr. KJ Srinivasa, who is based in Georgetown, Guyana, spoke during a short ceremony, stating that the vaccines will protect those with co- morbidities from falling gravely ill.
He says that India will continue to work with the Government and people of Antigua and Barbuda to secure more doses of the vaccine.
Minister Joseph, in accepting the gift, says he sees the gesture as a peace and humanitarian effort to save the lives of many people, and he is encouraging the populace to get vaccinated.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Browne thanked the Indian Government for the kind gesture and for its support as a significant development partner over the years.
The Government of India, so far, has donated over eight million vaccines worldwide, as some 90 countries still await a donation.