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Just Before Modi’s US Visit, India Decides To Resume Export, Donations Of Surplus Covid Vaccines From Next Month

Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya on Monday announced resuming of ‘Vaccine Maitri’ in the fourth quarter starting October. “We will be resuming the export of vaccines under ‘Vaccine Maitri’ in order to fulfill the commitment of India towards COVAX, in line with our motto Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam.” 

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Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya announced on Monday that the government is expecting to receive over 30 crore doses of Covid-19 vaccines in October and over 100 crore doses in the next three months.

All these announcements have come just before Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the US where the issue was likely to be raised by President Joe Biden.

India, the world’s biggest maker of vaccines overall, stopped vaccine exports in April to focus on inoculating its own population as infections exploded. The government wants to vaccinate all of its 94.4 crore adults by December and has so far given at least one dose to 61 percent of them.

The renewed export drive, known as ‘Vaccine Maitri’ will prioritize the global vaccine-sharing platform COVAX and neighboring countries first, Mr. Mandaviya said.

He said that since April, the country’s monthly vaccine output has more than doubled and is set to quadruple to over 300 million doses next month Total production could top 100 crores in the last three months of the year as new vaccines from companies such as Biological E are likely to be approved, he said.

Meanwhile, India reported 30,256 fresh cases of Covid-19, 43,938 recoveries, and 295 deaths in the last 24 hours, while the country saw a total of 37,78,296 vaccination during the same span.

Meanwhile, the Union government on Monday said that it has supplied more than 79.58 crore vaccine doses to states and Union Territories till now, and over 15 lakh doses are in the pipeline. “Over 5.43 crore vaccine doses are still available with States/UTs,” it added.

“We will help other countries and also fulfill our responsibility towards COVAX… Neighbouring (countries) first,” he told reporters, adding only excess supplies would be exported. India donated or sold 6.6 crore doses to nearly 100 countries before the export halt.

India’s inoculations have jumped since last month, especially as the world’s biggest vaccine maker, the Serum Institute of India, has more than trebled its output of the AstraZeneca shot to 20 crore doses a month from April levels.

Indian companies have set up the capacity to produce nearly 300 crore COVID vaccine doses a year.

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