Mansukh Mandaviya, the Union Health Minister on Monday said that India will re-start exporting and donating surplus Covid-19 vaccines from October 2021. This development comes a day before Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s scheduled visit to the US, where the issue was anticipated was to be raised by Joe Biden, US President.
India, the world’s largest manufacturer of the Covid-19 vaccines, had ceased the exports in April this year in a bid to focus on vaccinating its population as the viral infections exponentially increased. The union government aims to inoculate all of its 94.4 crore adults by December this year. Until now, it has administered at least one dose to 61% of the people.
The deliberations on the resumption of the Covid-19 vaccine exports come at a time when the Prime Minister visits Washington DC beginning Tuesday, where discussions around the vaccines may be held at a summit of the Quad leaders. The Quad nations are India, the US, Japan, and Australia. ‘Vaccine Maitri’, the renewed export drive will prioritise neighbouring countries, union health minister Mandaviya informed. Since April, India’s monthly Covid-19 vaccine output has increased to double and is set to quadruple to touch 300 million-plus doses in October, he added. The country donated or sold 6.6 crore doses of the Covid vaccines to around 100 nations before the export was paused.