India to resume exporting COVID-19 vaccines next month
India will begin exporting its excess COVID-19 vaccines in October, the country’s health minister said Monday.
Mansukh Mandaviya told The Associated Press that while vaccinating Indians was still the “topmost priority,” the exports would aim to fulfill the country’s “commitment towards the world for the collective fight against COVID-19.”
The exports will be prioritized for India’s neighboring countries and COVAX, the United Nations-backed vaccine equity initiative, Reuters reported.
India, the world’s largest COVID-19 vaccine producer, stopped exporting doses in April when it was hit with significant increases in infections within its own borders. Though India will be exporting only excess doses, production could top 1 billion for the remainder of the year as new vaccines get approved, according to Reuters.
President Biden was in talks with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to encourage the prompt release of vaccines, with Biden reportedly planning to give Modi a more significant role at an upcoming COVID-19 global summit in the United States, Axios reported.
However, the Biden administration denied leveraging the summit and said Modi would be welcomed regardless of his decision on exports.
In India, 62 percent of those eligible to be vaccinated have received at least one dose and 22 percent have received two, the AP reported.