Indian healthcare workers to start receiving second COVID-19 jab

The Indian government will begin administering the second round of COVID-19 vaccinations to healthcare workers today. Prime Minister Narendra Modi

India Vaaccination program

Photo: PTI/File

The Indian government will begin administering the second round of COVID-19 vaccinations to healthcare workers today.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has planned an ambitious vaccine program, which aims to inoculate 300 million people by August and all 1.3 billion Indians within two years. The nation’s three million healthcare workers are likely to receive their second jab within the next two weeks.

With 60% of the world’s vaccines produced in India, New Delhi plans to ship millions of doses to countries throughout Asia, including Bangladesh, Nepal, Burma, Afghanistan, Cambodia and twelve other countries. India’s “vaccine diplomacy” is intended to compete with China’s, as well as to heal fraying ties with Nepal and Bangladesh, which have grown closer to Beijing in the last decade.

India will very likely find it difficult to reach its high targets for domestic immunisation. However, its dominance in vaccine production will significantly boost its international image. So far it is ahead of China in the race to distribute vaccines around the developing world. But without a more active foreign policy outreach to its neighbours, India is unlikely to seriously challenge Chinese power in Asia in the near future.

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