'Will go a long way': WHO chief scientist welcomes India's decision to resume COVID-19 vaccine exports

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New Delhi: Chief scientist of World Health Organization (WHO) Dr Soumya Swaminathan on Tuesday welcomed India's decision to restart COVID-19 vaccine exports. She said that the decision will go long way to achieve global Vaccine Equity.

"COVAX welcomes the decision to restart Covid vaccine exports. Will go a long way to achieve global Vaccine Equity," Soumya Swaminathan said in a tweet.

Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare Mansukh Mandaviya on Monday announced that in the fourth quarter this year, the Government of India will resume Vaccine Maitri, an initiative to provide Covid vaccines to countries around the world and also fulfil its responsibility under Covax.

"Under Vaccine Maitri, we will help the world and contribute to Covax in the fourth quarter," Mandaviya said to reporters. He also announced that in October, the government is expecting more than 30 crore doses from vaccine manufacturers.

The Health Minister estimated the target of the fourth quarter this year to be around 100 crores and highlighted that vaccination of own citizens is the topmost priority.

Meanwhile, with the administration of 96,46,778 vaccine doses in the last 24 hours, India's COVID-19 vaccination coverage exceeded 81.85 crores (81,85,13,827) as per provisional reports till 7 am on Tuesday, informed the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

The ministry said that this has been achieved through 80,35,135 sessions.

As per the data, as many as 1,03,69,386 healthcare workers have been inoculated with the first dose of COVID vaccine while 87,50,107 have been inoculated with both doses. The number of frontline workers vaccinated stands at 1,83,46,016 (first dose) and 1,45,66,593 (two doses).

Early this year, India halted vaccine exports as coronavirus cases surged in the country.

Also See: India to resume exporting surplus COVID-19 vaccines in October, says health minister Mansukh Mandaviya

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