India resumes COVID-19 vaccine exports as domestic stocks build up: Officials

Updated: October 14th, 2021 11:10 AM IST

India resumes COVID-19 vaccine exports as domestic stocks build up: Officials

India resumes COVID-19 vaccine exports as domestic stocks build up: Officials

A woman reacts as she receives a dose of the COVISHIELD vaccine, a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine manufactured by Serum Institute of India, in an alley at a slum area in Ahmedabad, India, Sep 28, 2021. (Photo: REUTERS/Amit Dave)

NEW DELHI: India has resumed a small amount of exports of COVID-19 vaccines and will increase exports significantly in the next few months as domestic stocks build up and most of its own large population is inoculated, officials said on Wednesday (Oct 13).

So far about 4 million shots have been exported, the source said, a small amount in proportion to the expansive vaccine diplomacy Prime Minister Narendra Modis government launched this year before a second wave of infections forced a halt.

But now that three-quarters of the adult population have had one shot and a third have had both shots, India is poised to play an important role in meeting foreign nations vaccine requirements, said VK Paul, who heads the governments task force on COVID-19.

The Serum Institute is producing 220 million shots of the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine per month, up from 150 million in August, and Bharat Biotech is supplying 30 million shots of its home-grown vaccine which is set to rise to 50 million next month, he said.

With a few other locally developed vaccines moving closer to production or clearing regulatory approvals, India is expected to be producing 300-320 million shots a month by early next year - more than the average 210 million doses it administers to its people each month, the officials said.

"A huge, huge availability of vaccines can be visualised for next year, we expect vaccines made in India to play a significant role in dealing with the pandemic across the world," Paul said.

India is the worlds biggest maker of vaccines. Paul said it would in the next two or three days pass the 1 billion mark for vaccine doses administered since the start of its mass campaign to vaccinate all adult Indians.

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