India will resume the export of Covid vaccines in January, a top Health Ministry source told BusinessLine. This is in line with the country’s commitment to supply 500 crore doses to countries under GAVI and WHO-led Covax alliance.
The government had, in April this year, decided to prioritise and focus on immunising its own population first. Last month, the Centre supplied 40 lakh Covid doses to Bhutan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Iran. But even this was stopped and the Centre decided to continue the curbs on exports till the time the whole population gets fully inoculated.
“We are expecting to complete the vaccination programme of all adults by January. Until then, we have put a halt to export of Covid vaccines.
“PM Modi has committed to export 500 crore to GAVI, and for that we have a period of one year. So, our priority is to inoculate Indians first and then export vaccines to other countries,” a top official told BusinessLine.
So far, 79 per cent of the eligible population has received their first dose and 38 per cent the second shot. There are 93 crore adults in the country over 18 years of age, as per the Health Ministry officials.
More than 124 crore Covid vaccine doses have so far been provided to the States and Union territories through the Government of India’s free-of-cost channel and under the direct State procurement category, said the Health Ministry on Sunday. More than 18.74 crore Covid vaccine doses are still available with the States to be administered, it added.
India has the capacity to produce over 500 crore doses of Covid vaccines by the end of next year, said the PM during the G-20 summit in Rome on October 30. At present, the government uses three vaccines in the vaccination programme – Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin, Serum Institute of India’s Covishield and Russian vaccine Sputnik V. The Hindu BusinessLine