India says it will resume exports of COVID-19 vaccines from October, prioritizing the global vaccine-sharing platform COVAX and neighboring countries first as supplies rise.
India, the world’s biggest maker of vaccines, halted the exports of Covid-19 shots in April to focus on inoculating its own population during a massive surge in infections that pushed its health system to the breaking point.
The health minister, Mansukh Mandaviya, said on Monday that India’s monthly vaccine output has since more than doubled and is set to quadruple to over 300 million doses next month.
Mandaviya explained that the surplus vaccines will be used to fulfill India’s “commitment towards the world for the collective fight against Covid-19,” but vaccinating Indians will remain the government’s “topmost priority.”
The health minister did not specify how many doses would be exported. He said India’s monthly coronavirus vaccine production has more than doubled since April and is expected to increase to 300 million doses in October.
The halt in exports left many developing countries without adequate supplies and delayed vaccines for millions of people.
Before halting exports, India donated or sold 66 million vaccine doses to nearly 100 countries.