NEW DELHI (AP) — India, the world's largest vaccine producer, will resume exports and donations of surplus coronavirus vaccines in October after halting them during a devastating surge in domestic infections in April, the health minister said Monday.
Mansukh Mandaviya said the surplus vaccines will be used to fulfill India's "commitment towards the world for the collective fight against COVID-19,” but vaccinating Indians will remain the government's "topmost priority.”
India was expected to be a key supplier for the world and for the U.N.-backed initiative aimed at vaccine equity known as COVAX. It began exporting doses in January but stopped after being hit by a massive wave of cases. The halt in exports left many developing countries without adequate supplies.
Before halting exports, India donated or sold 66 million vaccine doses to nearly 100 countries.
Mandaviya said India's monthly coronavirus vaccine production has more than doubled since April and is expected to increase to 300 million doses in October.
“We will help the world and fulfil our responsibility to COVAX,” he said.
Serum Institute of India, the world’s largest maker of vaccines, is now producing an estimated 150 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine each month, a more than twofold increase since April.
The Associated Press