The Union government has allowed commercial export of Covishield and Covaxin considering the sufficient stock of the COVID-19 vaccines available with states and Union Territories as well as with manufacturers, official sources told PTI on Thursday, November 25. However, the quantity of COVID-19 vaccines to be exported will be decided by the government every month to ensure there is no dearth of domestic availability.
India recently resumed COVID-19 vaccine supply to the UN-backed COVAX with the government allowing Serum Institute of India (SII) to export 50 lakh doses of Covishield to Nepal, Tajikistan, Bangladesh and Mozambique. The Covishield shipment will reach Nepal and Tajikistan this week. "More than 22.72 crore balance and unutilised COVID-19 vaccine doses are still available with the states and Union Territories. The vaccine production is increasing and there will be surplus supplies. Keeping this in mind, a decision has been taken to allow commercial export of Covishield and Covaxin," an official source told PTI.
Prakash Kumar Singh, Director, Government and Regulatory Affairs at SII had recently communicated to the Union Health Ministry that the Pune-based firm has 24,89,15,000 doses of Covishield and the stock is increasing every day. The official, however, stressed, "The quantity of vaccines to be exported will be decided by the government on a monthly basis to ensure that domestic availability is not hampered in any way."
About 31 crore doses of Covishield and Covaxin are expected to be received by the government from SII and Bharat Biotech in December, while Zydus Cadila is likely to supply around two crore jabs of its three-dose COVID-19 vaccine ZyCoV-D by that time.
The government recently permitted the export of two crore doses of COVID-19 vaccine Covovax, produced in India by SII, to Indonesia. The jab is yet to be approved for emergency use in the country, according to official sources. The first shipment of Covovax will reach Indonesia this week.