India Should Relax COVID-19 Vaccine Export Restrictions


With the rapid expansion of production, there is growing optimism that India’s COVID-19 vaccine exports will resume exports and the adult population set up to be vaccinated within months. future.

“We have set ourselves a dose target of 1.85 billion doses. It will be organized by the end of December, after which the government can authorize the export of vaccines, â€said National Technology on Immunization. NK Arora, head of the advisory group, told VOA. “Next year billions of doses will be possible.”

India, a vaccine powerhouse, was set to become a major supplier of affordable COVID-19 vaccines to developing countries.

However, New Delhi suspended exports in April after receiving 66 million vaccines in nearly 100 countries following the deadly second wave of the pandemic, delaying the vaccination program from Africa to Indonesia. I did.

There has been no official comment on the timing of the resumption of exports, and the authorities have emphasized that India’s domestic expansion is timing.

“First of all, all of our adults need to be vaccinated, we need to take care of our own people,†Arora said.

The vaccine supply problems are expected to be revealed at a summit meeting of the four countries (United States, Japan, India, Australia) in Washington on Friday.

According to public health experts, India will likely wait for the resumption of exports until the end of the holidays in November so India does not have to face the third wave. Authorities are currently competing for at least one dose for all adults.

India has given about two-thirds of the population a single injection, but only 20% of the estimated 900 million adults have been fully immunized.

In April, the infectious disease outbreak was so devastating that the government came under fire for exporting vaccines when most of its population was unvaccinated.

On Thursday, August 12, 2021, people line up outside the vaccination center in Mumbai, India, to get vaccinated against COVID-19. (AP Photo / Rajanish Kakade)

India is set to resume exports as the country’s immunization program gains momentum and vaccine supplies increase.

The World Health Organization told a press conference in Geneva on Tuesday that supplies from India are expected to resume this year. Officials said the debate in New Delhi underscored the importance of ensuring India is “part of Africa’s solution.”

African countries have struggled to vaccinate their populations – only around 3% of the continent’s population is vaccinated.

A spokesperson for Gavi Alliance, co-leader of the global vaccine sharing platform COVAX, told VOA:

The Serum Institute of India, the world’s largest producer of AstraZeneca vaccines, said exports could pick up as India approaches a level where sufficient stocks are available for vaccination campaigns.

“We expect export easements to ease over the next two months, but we also need to confirm with the government. Ultimately, it’s their decision, â€said the CEO of SII. Adar Poonawalla said on Friday.

The institute was supposed to be one of the leading providers of affordable vaccines for COVAX, but when India stopped exporting, the vaccine sharing platform would supply enough to low- and middle-income countries. The ability to administer has been affected.

“Countries with low immunization levels have the potential to breed mutants, and if the world does not cover these people, there is an opportunity for mutants to stand up and sneak into other countries, controlling pandemics. It will be difficult, â€said K. Srinath Reddy, Chairman of the Indian Public Health Foundation, said.

Next week’s Quad Summit will also see how the vaccine initiative announced in March progresses.

“The summit will be a good opportunity to acquire shares and promote his initiative. Now that some conversations have taken place, let’s see what progress has been made, â€I don’t want to be named. An official from the Indian Foreign Ministry said.

Vaccines produced under the Quad Initiative targeted countries in the Indo-Pacific region. As these and other developing countries look to China, which provides more than a billion doses, Western countries appear to be lagging behind in vaccine efforts in developing countries. I am.

However, with the establishment of new production facilities and the expansion of vaccine baskets, expectations are rising for India to emerge as a major global supplier.

For example, SII plans to increase production to 200 million times next month. This is almost three times the production of April when India stopped exporting. Indian companies will also administer millions of doses of nationally and internationally developed vaccines, such as Johnson & Johnson Vaccine and Russian Sputnik V.

“It may seem like an unexpected statement, but next year it will immunize many countries, and these will be done with affordable vaccines. There is no confusion there. India is working on it and I have no difficulty, â€Arora said.


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