Health Desk – 25 Mar, 2021: Amidst a second wave of Covid-19 cases across the country, India has decided to not ramp up vaccine exports and to focus more on supply for its domestic requirement, official sources said today.
India will go slow on vaccine exports also because it will require more shots from April 1 from when the country’s vaccination drive will expand to include all people aged 45 and above, which translates into an estimated additional 34 crore people, reports our New Delhi correspondent.
“Right now, the Indian government’s priority is its own people,” said an official of the Indian external affairs ministry.
While there is going to be no ban on exports, contracted supplies to other countries will be made only after meeting domestic needs.
“India has helped countries with commercial supplies and grants of vaccines and would honour all commercial deals and export commitments,” the official said adding that future exports are linked to the ramping up of domestic production capacities.
As India’s vaccine production capacity goes up and emergency use permission is granted to more vaccines, New Delhi would review the exports after about two months, he said.
The move would slow down supplies to the WHO-backed COVAX facility through which more than 180 countries are expected to get doses. COVAX has so far received 17.7 million doses of Covishield from India.
Besides providing 200 million doses to the COVAX facility this year, India is also expected to manufacture one billion doses of Covid-19 vaccines with US and Japanese funding for the new Quad Vaccine Partnership by the end of 2022.