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India to resume vaccine export from October

  • Diplomatic Correspondent
  • 21 September, 2021 12:00 AM
  • Print news

India will resume export of surplus COVID-19 vaccines under the 'Vaccine Maitri' initiative in the fourth quarter starting from October.

Announcing the decision in New Delhi, Indian Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya on Monday said that vaccine export will resume fulfilling the commitment towards COVAX in line with the motto 'Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam' (the world is one family).

He, however, said vaccinating to Indian citizens remains the topmost priority of the government.

The decision to restart the vaccine export has come ahead of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to the United States to attend the UN General Assembly as well as Washington DC starting Tuesday where vaccines are likely to be discussed at a Summit of the leaders of the Quad countries.

Quad is comprised of the United States, Japan, Australia and India.

Mandaviya said that the surplus supply of vaccines will be used to fulfill the commitment towards the world for the collective fight against Covid-19. COVAX is co-led by Gavi, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and WHO.

He added that it is due to the relentless efforts and guidance of Prime Minister Modi that India was simultaneously undertaking Research and production of COVID vaccines in line with the global developments.

The Health Minister said that India's vaccination drive has been a role model for the world and it is marching ahead with great speed. “More than 4 times we have crossed one crore mark since the drive commenced on January 16.”

While talking about the vaccine production in coming months, Mandaviya said that more than 30 crore doses will be produced in October and more than 100 crore doses in the coming quarter.

India stopped vaccine exports in April amid second Covid surge to jab its own population.

Bangladesh signed agreement with India and paid in advance for 3 crore Covishiled (AstraZeneca) vaccine from the Serum Institute of India (SII). Under this commercial deal, India provided only 70 lakh doses of vaccines to Bangladesh. India also gifted 33 lakh doses of Covishield vaccines to Bangladesh.

According to Indian official figure, the government of India had supplied over 66 million doses of COVID-19 Vaccines to 70 countries as part of the Vaccine Maitri initiative earlier this year.

When asked, the Indian High Commission said, “In the context of the current inoculation totals achieved in India's current vaccination drive and the scaling-up of production in the country, the Health Minister of India has said that India will help other countries and also fulfill its responsibility towards COVAX. In saying this, he specified that neighbouring (countries will be) first".  Thus, supplies should start in reasonable quantities soon, with priority partners like Bangladesh being among the earliest recipients.

These will be among the first vaccine exports from India since April 2021.