India will resume export of surplus COVID-19 vaccines next month under the “Vaccine Maitri” programme and to meet its commitment to the COVAX global pool, says Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya. He said that cumulative doses administered so far across the country have crossed 81 crore and the last 10 crore doses were administered in only 11 days.
Mandaviya asserted that vaccination of Indian citizens remains the government’s topmost priority. He told the media that the government will receive over 30 crore doses of COVID-19 vaccines in October and over 100 crore doses in the next three months. The minister said the surplus supply of vaccines will be used to fulfill India’s commitment towards the world for the collective fight against COVID-19.
The resumption of exports deliberations come ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the US, starting Tuesday, where vaccines are likely to be discussed at a summit of the leaders of the Quad countries – the United States, India, Japan and Australia.
Mandaviya highlighted that since April, the country’s monthly vaccine output has since more than doubled and is set to quadruple to over 300 million doses next month. Total production could top 100 crore in the last three months of the year as new vaccines from companies such as Biological E are likely to be approved. “We will help other countries and also fulfill our responsibility towards COVAX neighboring countries first.
COVAX is co-led by Gavi, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and WHO. The Health minister pointed out that due to the relentless efforts and guidance of PM Modi that India was simultaneously undertaking research and production of COVID vaccines in such a big way. “India’s vaccination drive has been a role model for the world and it is marching ahead with great speed.”