India’s rising output of COVID-19 vaccines and the inoculation of more than half its adult population with at least one dose are raising hopes the country will return as an exporter within months, ramping up from early next year.
After donating or selling 66 million doses to nearly 100 countries, India barred exports in the middle of April to focus on domestic immunisation as infections exploded, upsetting the inoculation plans of many African and South Asian countries.
New production lines have been set up, a vaccine developed by Cadila Healthcare won recent approval, and commercial production of Russia’s Sputnik V is starting in India.
The Serum Institute of India (SII) is now producing about 150 million doses a month of its version of the AstraZeneca shot, more than twice its April output of about 65 million, a source with knowledge of the matter said.
“No fixed timeline on exports but the company hopes to restart in a few months,” said the source, who declined to be named without approval to talk on the matter.
SII, which has previously indicated exports could resume by year-end, did not respond to a request for comment.
Global vaccine sharing platform COVAX hopes India will restart foreign sales sooner than later.
“With successful national vaccination and the arrival of more products, we are hoping that Indian supply to COVAX will resume as quickly as possible,” a spokesperson for the platform’s co-lead GAVI informed.
India could play a “similarly transformative role in the global response to COVID-19,” the spokesperson said.
Edited by EP Bureau