In what will be good news for many countries around the world, India will resume the export and gifting of surplus vaccines from next month, Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya announced on Monday
In what will be good news for many countries around the world, India will resume the export and gifting of surplus vaccines from next month, Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya announced on Monday. India, the world's largest vaccines manufacturer, stopped vaccine exports in April to focus on inoculating its own population as infections exploded.
The government wants to vaccinate all of its 950 million adults by December and has so far given at least one dose to 61 per cent of them, NDTV said.
The resumption of exports deliberations come ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Washington this week where vaccines are likely to be discussed at a summit of the leaders of the Quad countries - the United States, India, Japan and Australia.
The renewed export drive, known as 'Vaccine Maitri' (Vaccine Friendship) will prioritise neighbouring countries first, Mandaviya said, adding 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. The decision will be welcomed by countries like Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka. Bhutan and the Maldives who were badly affected when India discontinued its promised supply earlier this year after it went through a major public health crisis as coronavirus gripped the country and tens of thousands died.
Many of these countries had to turn to China to fulfil their vaccine requirements.
"Neighbouring (countries) first," Mandaviya told reporters, adding only excess supplies would be exported.
India donated or sold 66 million doses to nearly 100 countries before the export halt, officials said.
India has administered over 800 million vaccine doses under the ongoing nationwide COVID-19 vaccination drive, according to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
At 0.95 per cent, the active COVID-19 cases are the lowest in the country since March 2020.
The country of 1.35 billion people recorded 30,256 new cases in the last 24 hours.
For the last 87 days, the weekly positivity rate (2.07%) is less than 3 per cent, while the daily positivity rate is less than 3 per cent for the past 21 days, officials said.