India will focus on meeting the domestic demand for coronavirus vaccines in view of a spike in COVID-19 infections in several states and it will not expand export of vaccines for next few months, people familiar with the development said on Wednesday.
They, however, said all commercial contracts and export commitments will be honoured and that India will continue to help countries around the world to deal with the pandemic.
So far, India has supplied 60.4 million doses of coronavirus vaccines to around 80 countries. The total supplies include vaccine doses sent as grant assistance, under commercial contract and through COVAX, which is a global initiative aimed at equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines.
The people said India will fulfil the existing commitments made to various countries and exports will depend on domestic demand.
“There will be no expansion of exports for next few months. The situation will be reviewed after around 2-3 months as we are focusing on ramping up vaccine production,” said one of the people cited above.
India started supplying the vaccine doses to foreign countries on January 20. The first countries to receive such vaccines were from the neighbourhood. The government has already announced that people who are 45 and older can be vaccinated from April 1. It is ramping up the nationwide inoculation drive as the COVID-19 cases have increased in many states.
India recorded 47,262 fresh coronavirus cases in a day, the highest single-day rise so far this year, taking the nationwide COVID-19 tally to 1,17,34,058, the Union Health Ministry said on Wednesday.
It also said a new “double mutant” variant of COVID-19 was detected in Delhi, Maharashtra and some other places. Maharashtra reported 31,855 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday, its highest ever single-day jump since the outbreak of the pandemic last year, a health official said in Mumbai. Delhi reported 1,254 cases, highest daily increase in over three months, according to the state Health Department.