Vaccine export to restart in fourth quarter: Health Minister

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on September 20, 2021

Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya   -  PTI

Surplus supplies to be used for collective fight against the pandemic.

The much-awaited export of Covid-19 vaccines from India will restart in the fourth quarter, starting October, Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya said. The development comes as several international agencies like GAVI, the vaccine alliance and the African Union, urged India to resume exports, now that Covid-19 cases appeared to be stabilising in the country.

Mandaviya informed that the surplus supply of vaccines will be used to fulfil the country’s commitment towards the world for the collective fight against the pandemic. It may be recalled that the Government had stopped exporting vaccines around March-April to first meet the domestic requirement amid the rapid surge in daily infections.

Recently though, the World Health Organization’s Chief Scientist Dr Soumya Swaminathan had told Business Line, following her meeting with the Health Minister, that exports were likely to resume by October-November. India had first exported vaccines under its Vaccine Maitri initiative on January 20, 2021 in the form of grants-in aid and commercial sales by Indian manufactures and through the COVAX facility. According to the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) data, the Government has so far exported 663.7 lakh vaccine doses to foreign countries.

The confidence to export vaccines now comes possibly from the country’s ramped up vaccination pace over the last several days. India’s vaccination drive has surpassed the 81-crore milestone so far and on Monday it administered over 94 lakh doses, at the time of going to press.

“India’s vaccination is moving ahead with great speed. Since the inoculation drive began in January, the country has crossed one crore-mark four times,” Mandaviya stated.

Production ramp-up

India will be producing more than 30 crore doses in October and more than 100 crore in the coming quarter, the Minister said. Recently, Serum Institute of India Chief Executive Adar Poonawalla said, they were producing 160 million doses per month, and this was expected to touch 200 million by the year end. Bharat Biotech’s production had also gone up from 2.5 crore a month, as more production units begin to contribute. Also adding to the Government’s vaccines kitty are Russia’s Sputnik V and other foreign vaccines, still waiting in the wings.

Meanwhile, India reported 30,256 cases with 295 deaths in a single day till 8:00 AM on Monday. The recovery of 43,938 patients in the last 24 hours till 8:00 AM has increased the cumulative tally of recovered patients since the beginning of the pandemic to 3,27,15,105, as per the Health Ministry.

Published on September 20, 2021

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