World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has hailed India’s decision to resume COVID-19 vaccine exports and said that it is an “important development” in the support of the goal to reach the vaccination goal of vaccinating 40% of the population in all countries by end of this year.
India on Monday said that it will resume the export of surplus COVID-19 vaccines from the fourth quarter of 2021 under its ''Vaccine Maitri'' programme. India bids to meet its commitment to the COVAX global pool by this move.
Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya, however, said that vaccinating Indian citizens remains the topmost priority of the government.
WHO chief tweeted,
Thank you Health Minister @mansukhmandviya for announcing #India will resume crucial #COVID19 vaccine shipments to #COVAX in October. This is an important development in support of reaching the 40% vaccination target in all countries by the end of the year. #VaccinEquity— Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (@DrTedros) September 21, 2021
India had stopped the export of COVID-19 vaccines after the second wave of the pandemic hit the country in April this year and the government received flak for sending vaccines abroad. The government also made arrests at the ones putting up posters for the same protest.
Asserting that vaccination of its own citizens remains the government’s topmost priority, Mandaviya said, "India will be resuming the export of COVID-19 vaccines under Vaccine Maitri in order to fulfil the commitment of India towards COVAX in line with our motto of ''Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam''.
COVAX is a worldwide initiative aimed at equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines directed by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, and the WHO.
The surplus supply of vaccines will be used to fulfil India''s commitment towards the world for the collective fight against COVID-19, the minister said.
The health minister said the government will receive over 30 crore doses of COVID-19 vaccines in October and over 100 crore doses in the coming quarter from October-December. The cumulative doses administered so far across the country has crossed 81.7 crores.
(With PTI Inputs)