India's Vaccine Maitri initiative has been very well-liked by partner countries around the world

The Indian government has clarified that it has not imposed any ban on the export of Covid-19 vaccines; it has, in fact, supplied vaccines to more than 80 countries.

In a media briefing held on Friday, Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said, “I want to emphasize that we have not imposed any export ban on vaccines.”

A news report had earlier said that India has stopped shipments of the coronavirus vaccine from the Serum Institute of India to Canada and that these have been put on hold for an indefinite period so as to cater to domestic needs.

The report claimed that according to Sputnik, New Delhi is concentrating on immunization at home due to a spike in domestic cases.

On being asked about India’s response on the delivery of the vaccines to Nepal, which asked for 5 million more doses recently, Bagchi said, “India has taken the lead on sending vaccines abroad. No country has shared with the world that India has, while vaccinating its own people. Till now, we have supplied vaccines to more than 80 countries across the world. We have already stated that our external supplies would be done keeping in mind our domestic requirement. At this time, I am sure that our partners understand that vaccines are primarily proposed for domestic consumption.”

Under its Vaccine Maitri initiative, India has successfully supplied more than 644 lakh (64.4 million) doses of Covid-19 vaccines to the global community. Of these, 144 lakh doses have been supplied as grant, 357 lakh doses on a commercial basis, and 182 lakh doses under the COVAX initiative.

As regards the demand for the vaccines, the MEA Spokesperson said, “Many countries have been requesting for our vaccines. I don’t have the exact number as the demand is based on their request but I can tell you that the Vaccine Maitri initiative has been very successful, and very well-liked by our partners around the world and we are continuing to supply at every extent possible, given our domestic requirements.”