India to resume Covid-19 vaccine exports in October: Health Minister Mandaviya
India has supplied over 66 million vaccine doses to 95 nations
India will resume the export of Covid-19 vaccines from October, Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare Mansukh Mandaviya said on Monday.
Speaking to the media, the minister said that this would be part of the 'Vaccine Maitri' programme and would meet India's commitment to the Covax global pool.
Mandaviya's announcement came on a day when India crossed the 81-crore (810-million) mark when it comes to administering Covid-19 vaccine doses.
India had started external supplies of Made in India COVID-19 vaccines under the Vaccine Maitri initiative on January 20 this year.
This was in the form of grants, commercial sales by Indian manufacturers (Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech) and through GAVI’s COVAX facility.
The country had, however, halted the supply of vaccines to other countries in order to prioritise the requirements of its own people after the deadly second wave of the pandemic in April this year.
India has supplied vaccines to 95 nations across geographies, including the smaller and more vulnerable nations in Africa.
According to figures available on the website of the Ministry of External Affairs, over 66 million vaccine doses have been supplied to other countries.
India launched what has been described as one of the largest vaccination exercises in the world on January 16 this year.
While the initial stages of the campaign were marked by vaccine availability constraints, manufacturers like the Serum Institute of India (Covishield) and Bharat Biotech (Covaxin) have ramped up production significantly in recent months.