WHO lauds India's decision to resume COVID-19 vaccine exports
(Sourced from PTI)
World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has hailed India's decision to resume COVID-19 vaccine exports as an important development in support of the goal to reach 40% vaccination in all countries by end of the year. India on Monday said that it will resume the export of surplus COVID-19 vaccines in the fourth quarter of 2021 under the Vaccine Maitri initiative.
Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya on Tuesday said, "The resumption of vaccine export is to fulfill the commitment of India toward COVAX, in line with our motto Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam." He also said that only the surplus supply of COVID-19 vaccines will be used for the renewed export drive. "However, vaccinating Indian citizens remains the topmost priority of the government," he added.
COVAX is a global vaccine-sharing platform, co-led by Gavi, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), and World Health Organization. It aims to make COVID-19 vaccine distribution equitable, especially focusing on low and middle-income countries.
Meanwhile, WHO Director-General thanked Mandaviya over Twitter. "Thank you Health Minister @mansukhmandviya for announcing #India will resume crucial #COVID19 vaccine shipments to #COVAX in October. This is an important development in support of reaching the 40% vaccination target in all countries by the end of the year," he tweeted with the hashtag vaccine equity.
Thank you Health Minister @mansukhmandviya for announcing #India will resume crucial #COVID19 vaccine shipments to #COVAX in October. This is an important development in support of reaching the 40% vaccination target in all countries by the end of the year. #VaccinEquity— Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (@DrTedros) September 21, 2021
India had halted the vaccine exports during the peak of the second wave of COVID-19 without issuing any formal ban. Notably, India had exported 66.4 million COVAXIN and Covishield doses till April-end this year. Regarding COVID-19 vaccine production, Mandaviya said that India's monthly vaccine output has doubled since April and that over 30 crore vaccine doses will be produced by India in October.
"India's total vaccine production will reach the 100 crore mark in the coming quarter as new vaccines from companies such as Biological E are likely to be approved," Mandaviya said. Indian companies have increased their respective capacities to produce nearly 300 crore vaccine doses per year. The Serum Institute of India has increased output of the AstraZeneca shot to 20 crore doses per month.