New Delhi will not resume exports of Covid 19 vaccines until all adults in the country get fully vaccinated. Insiders refuted reports saying that India would start supplying vaccines to other countries. Once the adults are vaccinated, the government will have to look at the children.
Pace of vaccination is critical for India to boost its economy, which has been impacted by the severity of the second wave in May and June.
Besides, there is lurking fear of another third wave of the virus.
“India is not sitting on surplus doses at this point and given this situation, it is not going to resume exports of vaccines – we don’t see that happening at least this year. We have to prioritise our people,” one of them told India Narrative.
India and the world will also be closely watching the new Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya and his team. He has been entrusted with the tough job of averting another health crisis while expediting the vaccination drive.
Nirupama Soudararajan, Senior Fellow and Head of Research of Pahle India Foundation told India Narrative that the pandemic has led to “massive wealth erosion” due to closure of businesses and unemployment.
“India’s economy has to be jump-started. Though another round of stimulus package has been announced, the economy cannot run on such assistance. We need to keep our focus on the vaccination drive. In this scenario, we should not export vaccines to other countries including the neighbouring nations,” Soundararajan said.
Despite a drop in the number of fresh cases, business sentiments are flat and uncertainty remains.
“Fear of fatality is high and given that the virus is mutating, we need to be adequately prepared for other strains. We cannot afford another gap in the supply-chain. Production has not reached a level when we can even think of exporting vaccines,” she added.
Soundararajan also noted that there could be further requirements for booster shots in the next few months.
“We are yet to ascertain whether booster shots will be required in India. We haven't heard anything on that but many countries have already announced. We need to be prepared as well and the the demand for vaccines therefore will be huge,” Soundararajan said.
Echoing the same sentiment, EY India’s chief policy adviser DK Srivastava said that the economic revival process “is totally dependent on the pace of vaccination.”
“We are not completely out of the woods with the number of active cases showing an increase. We have to avoid a third wave to ensure that the economy picks up steam and for this, the vaccination drive has to be pushed,” Bidisha Ganguly, chief economist of the Confederation of Indian Industry’s (CII) said.