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India supplies non-J&J COVID shots under Quad umbrella

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NEW DELHI (Reuters) -India has supplied COVID-19 vaccines to Cambodia and Thailand under an initiative of the Quad group of countries, New Delhi said on Thursday, though not the Johnson & Johnson shot as originally planned.

The leaders of the Quad countries - India, the United States, Japan and Australia - could discuss the vaccine supply plan when they meet in Japan on Tuesday, Indian foreign ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi told a news conference.

"We have sent, under the Quad umbrella, vaccines to Cambodia and Thailand," Bagchi said.

"Yes, the original plan was to use a different modality, but the final objective is to ensure that vaccines are shared under the Quad umbrella to those countries who need them."

Bagchi did not give numbers, but Indian foreign ministry data shows that India last month sent 200,000 doses of Covovax, a version of the Novavax vaccine made by the Serum Institute of India (SII), to Thailand under the Quad programme.

India separately shipped 325,000 doses of Covishield, a version of the AstraZeneca shot made by the SII, to Cambodia, the data shows.

The Quad was originally supposed to supply J&J doses made by Indian company Biological E Ltd to Southeast Asian and other countries, as a counter to China's vaccine donations around the world.

Biological E did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Reuters could not immediately contact J&J.

(Reporting by Krishna N. Das and Mayank Bhardwaj; Editing by Edmund Blair and Frances Kerry)

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