Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan will meet officials of Ministry of External Affairs and Department of Pharmaceuticals on Monday to discuss the export of Covid-19 vaccination, the government said on Sunday.
The meeting comes amid the first phase of the Covid-19 vaccination rollout, which is being called the world’s biggest inoculation drive against the pandemic.
India was able to vaccinate 2,07,229 frontline workers on Saturday — the first day of the drive — which is the highest day one inoculation numbers in the world.
“The figures are higher than the US, UK and France,” said the health ministry.
Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan had virtually interacted with the health ministers of all states and Union Territories, congratulating officials for the successful rollout of the Covid-19 vaccine.
Vardhan said the two coronavirus vaccines — Covaxin developed by Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech and Covishield by the Serum Institute — were a ‘sanjivani’, life infusing, in the fight against the killer virus.
The Indian drug regulator, DCGI, had approved SII’s Covishield and Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin for emergency use on 3 January.
India’s vaccine export plans
According to reports, India plans to offer 20 million doses of coronavirus vaccine to its neighbours. It is drawing up a policy to supply vials to countries across the globe.
An Indian state-run company will reportedly buy vaccines from the Serum Institute of India Ltd. and Bharat Biotech International Ltd. for supplying to Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Seychelles and Mauritius. Some of supplies may be free and treated as aid, a Bloomberg report said.
The first batch of the vials will be shipped over the next two weeks, the report said. The government will then offer the vaccines to countries in Latin America, Africa and the former Soviet republics.
The central government had earlier said that the domestic demands of the vaccines will take priority over exports.
India i one of the world’s biggest producers of vaccines and generic drugs.
Nepal’s approval of Covishield
Nepal had on Friday approved the use of AstraZeneca Covishield vaccine manufactured in India against the novel coronavirus.
“Conditional permission has been granted for emergency use authorization of Covishield vaccine against Covid-19 in Nepal,” a statement by the country’s Department of Drug Administration said.
The announcement came on the day of the sixth meeting of the India-Nepal Joint Commission when External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar held a talk with Nepal Foreign Minister Pradeep Kumar Gyawali in Delhi.
“During the meet, Nepal congratulated India on the remarkable success in the production of Covishield and Covaxin vaccines in India and requested for early provision of vaccines to Nepal,” said the Ministry of External Affairs.
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