India to resume Covid vaccine exports to developing nations

India to resume Covid vaccine exports to developing nations

The world’s largest vaccine producer, India, has announced that starting from October it will resume coronavirus vaccine exports to developing countries that have struggled to inoculate their populations.

The announcement comes after New Delhi, which had already exported 66 million doses to 95 countries, had temporarily halted vaccine shipments abroad in April amid a resurgence of cases at home.

According to Indian Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya, the nation’s vaccine manufacturers “are expected to produce more than 300 million doses” in October for the country’s own vaccination drive, with any surplus supplies being sent to other countries in the global fight against coronavirus. “We will help the world, and through Covax we will also fulfil our responsibility,” the minister said.

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Covax is a multilateral initiative which aims to provide access to Covid vaccines to all the countries of the world. It is led by the Global Vaccine Alliance (Gavi), the World Health Organization (WHO) and Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI).

In June Covax, which expected to supply 1.9 billion doses for the entire year, cut its forecast partly because of the export ban in India. It now expects to distribute 1.4 billion shots by the end of 2021.

Meanwhile, India wants to vaccinate its adult population by the end of this year. It has given more than 818 million doses of the three approved jabs since the beginning of the vaccination drive in January. So far, over 609 million people (more than half of India's eligible population) have received at least one dose. Statistics show that 21% of eligible adults in the country are fully vaccinated.

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