The World Health Organization chief thanked Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya this morning as India announced its resolve to restart the export and donation of surplus vaccinations beginning next month. As a tidal wave of illnesses overtook the country, India – which has earned the moniker of pharmacy of the world and is the largest manufacturer of vaccines worldwide – halted vaccine exports in April to focus on inoculating its people.
Taking to the micro-blogging site, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO chief, wrote: “Thank you Health Minister @mansukhmandviya for announcing #India will resume crucial #COVID19 vaccine shipments to #COVAX in October.”
The WHO director called it a “significant development” and added that India’s contribution would assist all COVAX-supported nations to meet the 40% immunisation target rate by the end of the year.
The WHO and the GAVI vaccine alliance are heading the COVAX facility, which will aid in the purchase and distribution of immunisation doses against the new coronavirus around the world. The worldwide supply of COVAX took a “significant hit” after the cases burst in India. The restart of export discussions comes ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Washington, which begins on Tuesday and will likely include a discussion of vaccinations during a leaders’ summit.
The relaunched export campaign, dubbed ‘Vaccine Maitri,’ would first prioritise the global vaccine-sharing network COVAX and neighbouring nations. India halted selling the dosages in April when illnesses soared during the second wave of Covid-19, and opposition parties chastised the government for a poor immunisation rate. Before the export prohibition, India has sold or donated 66 million doses to over 100 nations.