New York: World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has hailed India’s decision to resume COVID-19 vaccine exports as an important development in support of the goal to reach 40 per cent vaccination in all countries by end of the year.
India on Monday said that it will resume export of surplus COVID-19 vaccines in the fourth quarter of 2021 under the ‘Vaccine Maitri’ programme and to meet its commitment to the COVAX global pool.
Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya, however, said that vaccinating Indian citizens remain the topmost priority of the government.
“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,” WHO Director-General Ghebreyesus said in a tweet to Mandaviya with the hashtag vaccine equity.
India stopped the export of COVID-19 vaccines after the second wave of the pandemic hit the country in April this year.
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 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 crore.
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