India considers resuming vaccine exports soon, focus on Africa, says source
India is considering resuming exports of COVID-19 vaccines soon, mainly to Africa, as it has partly immunised a majority of its adults and supplies have surged, a source with knowledge of the matter told Reuters.
India, the world’s biggest maker of vaccines overall, stopped vaccine exports in April to focus on inoculating its own population as infections exploded.
The government wants to vaccinate all of its 944 million adults by December and has so far given at least one dose to 61% of them.
The resumption of exports deliberations come ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Washington next week where vaccines are likely to be discussed at a summit of the leaders of the Quad countries – the United States, India, Japan and Australia.
“The export decision is a done deal,” said the source, who declined to be named as he was not authorised to talk to the media on the matter. “India wants to help out Africa with both vaccines and its COVID operational model.”
India’s Ministry of External Affairs, one of whose senior officials met with the chief of the World Health Organization on Monday, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The ministry coordinates India’s vaccine exports.