NEW YORK: Top United Nations officials, including the UN peacekeeper, have expressed gratitude to India for its 200,000 Covid-19 peacekeeping mission, saying the donation would enable the Blue Helmet to continue its life-saving work in a safer environment.
200,000 doses of Covid-19 vaccine, announced as a gift from India for UN peacekeepers, left Mumbai early Saturday morning and will arrive in Copenhagen, Denmark. Thereafter they will be assigned to all UN peacekeeping missions.
Peace Secretary-General Jean-Pierre Lacroix and Secretary-General of Operational Support Atul Khare on Friday praised India’s contribution to the UN peacekeeping vaccine.
“The successful release of the Covid-19 vaccine for all peacekeepers is a priority for the United Nations to protect our workers and their ability to continue their vital work, help protect vulnerable communities and fulfill their responsibilities,” Lacroix said.
“India is a long and straightforward supporter of peacekeeping and I want to thank the government and people of India, who have generously donated Covid-19 vaccines to help our peacekeepers and enable them to continue their life-saving work safely. ”
Khare thanked India for donating 200,000 vaccines to UN peacekeeping missions.
“This significant contribution will allow us to ensure that UN peacekeepers are able to stay healthy and bring to the world’s most difficult areas without relying on extended national health programs or on ongoing COVAX efforts.”
He added that “we are also partnering with our armed forces and countries to ensure that, where possible, uniformed workers are vaccinated through their national programs before deployment. At the same time, my department is leading the UN’s international programs to support national efforts to vaccinate government workers and family members at the UN. ”
Foreign Minister S Jaishankar had announced in February that India would release 200,000 Covid-19 vaccines for UN peacekeepers.
“In memory of the UN peacekeepers working in such difficult circumstances, we would like to announce today the gift of 200,000 of them,” Jaishankar said during a UN Security Council debate on the implementation of resolution 2532 (2020) on the cessation of hostilities in the Covid-19 epidemic.
Quoting the Bhagavad Gita, Jaishankar had said “Make your work with the welfare of others always in mind.”
200,000 volumes basically mean that it will be possible to provide twice the required dose of Covid for all UN peacekeepers in all occupations.
According to the UN peacekeeping force, as of January 31, 2021 a total of 85,782 workers are working in 12 international peacekeeping operations led by the Department of Peace.
A total of 121 countries contribute uniforms to UN peacekeeping operations.
India is one of the largest donors of military and police equipment to UN peacekeeping missions, with more than 5,000 men and women deployed on nine missions, including in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, South Sudan and Lebanon.
200,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine left Mumbai and passed Qatar Airways on March 27 at 4:10 a.m.
The deployment will go to Copenhagen, where it will be safely stored at the facility, reassembled and immediately distributed to peacekeepers’ peacekeeping operations.
The Covishield vaccine is a type of vaccine AstraZeneca / Oxford produced by the Serum Institute of India. Covaxin is a traditional vaccine made by the pharma company Bharat Biotech.
The Department of Peace said last year, UN peacekeepers around the world had made “extraordinary efforts” as they prepared themselves and responded to an unprecedented global health crisis.
Nearly 100,000 peacekeepers, already working in complex and challenging environments, have been able to keep themselves and others safe while supporting national and regional authorities in their response to the epidemic. He added that despite the unexpected challenges posed by Covid-19, peacekeepers have shown flexibility in order to continue their work, which is to protect the people and to build lasting peace.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said he was “deeply grateful” for the donation of 200,000 Covid-19 vaccines to UN peacekeepers announced by India.
Under India’s ‘Vaccine Maitri’ initiative, which translates to Vaccine Friendship, the country has been providing vaccines to nations around the world – from India’s immediate neighbors to Latin America and Africa – and is an important source of supply for the Covax Center.
More than 58 million estimates made in India for coronavirus vaccines have reached 70 countries in recent weeks.