NEW DELHI: India has resumed a small amount of exports of COVID-19 vaccines and will increase exports significantly in the next few months as domestic stocks build up and most of its own large population is inoculated, officials said on Wednesday (Oct 13).
One million shots of Covaxin produced by Indian company Bharat Biotech were shipped to Iran last week, the Indian embassy in Tehran said.
Vaccines have also been sent to Nepal, a government source said, adding that the effort is focused on neighbouring nations.
So far about 4 million shots have been exported, the source said, a small amount in proportion to the expansive vaccine diplomacy Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government launched this year before a second wave of infections forced a halt.
But now that three-quarters of the adult population have had one shot and a third have had both shots, India is poised to play an important role in meeting foreign nations’ vaccine requirements, said VK Paul, who heads the government’s task force on COVID-19.
“As India’s needs are met, going forward there will be a generous stockpile of vaccines,” Paul told reporters.