India's announcement that it would resume the export of vaccines, under the 'Vaccine Maitri' programme to other countries from October 2021 has received a warm welcome by the WHO chief who praised New Delhi's initiative to resume the program stalled in April amid an acute shortage.

Currently, India has inoculated more than 13 per cent of its eligible population and the death rate has come down to less than 30,000 in the last few days. 

Speaking to the media on Monday, Union Health and Family Welfare minister Mansukh Mandaviya said that the country will resume the export of coronavirus vaccines to fulfil its commitment towards COVAX, made earlier.

Started in January 2021, India's Vaccine Maitri (Vaccine Friendship) initiative – a major diplomatic effort to gift and supply made-in-India vaccines to low-income and developing countries globally -- was stalled owing to shortage of the vaccine in the country amid the Second Wave.

So far, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Nepal, Bhutan, Maldives, Mauritius, Sri Lanka, Brazil, Morocco, South Africa, Afghanistan, Mexico, DR Congo, Nigeria and the UK were among some of the beneficiaries of the Vaccine Maitri initiative.

As of May, India had exported 6.63 crore doses to other countries of which 10.7 crore went as a grant, whereas 35.7 crore doses were shipped under the commercial category. Bangladesh received 10.3 crore doses under the programme.

WHO's reaction 

The World Health Organisation on Wednesday appreciated India's decision to export the vaccines under Vaccine Maitri to COVAX. The Director-General of WHO Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that it is an important development in support of reaching the 40 per cent vaccination target in all countries by the end of this year.

Child wearing mask (Representational Picture)Pixabay

The World Health Organisation (WHO) Director General has thanked Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya for resuming shipments of vaccines against the Covid-19 to the global platform COVAX from October.

Health Minister on Monday had announced that India will resume the vaccine export to the global platform COVAX starting from October. He said, only excess supplies would qualify for export. "We will help other countries and fulfil our responsibility towards COVAX," he said on Monday.

Terming the decision an important development, the WHO Director said on social media, "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 per cent vaccination target in all countries by the end of the year".

COVAX is co-led by Gavi, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and WHO. While talking about the production of the vaccine in coming months, Mandaviya said that more than 30 crore doses will be produced in October and more than 100 crores in the coming quarter vaccines will be produced.