India will resume export of vaccines against Coronavirus disease (Covid-19) under the government’s ‘Vaccine Maitri’ initiative from October 2021, the Union health ministry announced on Monday.
“India will be resuming export of vaccines under Vaccine Maitri in order to fulfil the commitment of India towards COVAX, in line with our motto Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam. The surplus supply of vaccines will be used to fulfil our commitment towards the world for the collective fight against Covid-19,” said Union health minister Mansukh Mandaviya.
COVAX is co-led by Gavi, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and WHO (World Health Organisation), and aims at equitable distribution of Covid-19 vaccines, particularly focusing on the low and middle income countries.
Till April-end this year,India exported 66.4 million Covaxin and Covishield vaccine doses that included doses as commercial supplies, grants and supplies to the COVAX facility meant for use in low and middle income countries across the globe.
About the expected production in the coming months, the health minister said that more than 300 million (30 crore) vaccine doses will be produced in the month of October and at least 1 billion (100 crore) in the coming quarter.
While there was no ban on vaccine exports, as neither the health ministry, commerce and industry ministry, department of promotion of industry and internal trade, nor the directorate general of foreign trade issued any formal orders asking to bar export of Covid-19 vaccines from the country, India halted vaccine export after new cases started surging during the second wave in the country.
With the hard second wave that India saw April onwards, India began aggressively vaccinating its population and even expanded coverage to all adults from May 1.
The vaccine supplies have been shipped for as many as 93 countries so far, for health care workers with the United Nations, and also their peacekeepers, as per the ministry of external affairs data.