With India flying the much-needed Covid 19 vaccine to Bhutan and Maldives today, Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit of the Dominican Republic has written to PM Narendra Modi to seek 70,000 doses of Covaxin to shield his country from the coronavirus disease.
In a letter to PM Modi on Tuesday, PM Skerrit wrote: “As we enter 2021 and persevere in our fight against Covid-19, Dominica’s population of 72,100 is in urgent need of enough doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine. I, therefore, request, with great humility and respect, that you assist us by donating the doses we need to make our population safe (optimally 70,000 first and second doses).”
India has close ties with the Dominican Republic that had demonstrated its commitment to bilateral ties during its tenure as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council for two years till 2020. The small Caribbean island nation had come to India’s support when Pakistan, through its all-weather ally China, was targeting India on Kashmir and trying to get innocent Indians working in Afghanistan listed as global terrorists under the UNSC's 1267 resolution.
PM Modi has already tweeted that India is committed to meeting the health care needs of the global community. External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar has said India, the pharmacy of the world, will deliver vaccines to overcome the pandemic challenge.
In his letter, PM Skerrit said: “I draw your kind attention to the enormous challenge faced by our people in obtaining a vaccine for Covid-19. Notwithstanding the pledge by Oxford-AstraZeneca to provide more than half of its doses to the world’s developing nations, as it currently stands, the large number of Dominicans will not be able to obtain a vaccine for a very long time. We are a small island developing nation, and are unable to compete with larger nations with greater demand for vaccines and more funds with which to pay for it.”
He reminded PM Narendra Modi that his country has often been the fortunate recipient of assistance from India. “In 2017, in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, the Government of India graciously provided USD 100,000 for immediate relief, as well as a further USD 1 million for the rebuilding of essential infrastructure. In 2016, India also provided medicine for Dominicans as part of a grant in aid scheme. We hope now to again be able to rely on your generosity,” the letter added.