‘Misinformation’: Health ministry says no ban on export of Covid-19 vaccine

The health secretary rubbished the claims that the government has banned the export of Covid-19 vaccines to meet local demands first.
Health secretary Rajesh Bhushan said the government never imposed any ban on the export of Covid-19 vaccine.(Vipin Kumar/HT PHOTO)
Health secretary Rajesh Bhushan said the government never imposed any ban on the export of Covid-19 vaccine.(Vipin Kumar/HT PHOTO)
Updated on Jan 05, 2021 06:56 PM IST
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Hindustan Times, New Delhi | Byhindustantimes.com | Edited by Poulomi Ghosh

In the wake of a controversy after it was reported that Serum Institute of India has been barred to export vaccines to other countries, the health ministry on Tuesday clarified that no such decision was taken ever. On Tuesday, Serum Institute CEO Adar Poonawalla too clarified that there was no ban on the exports of vaccine.

“The Union government has not banned the export of any of the Covid-19 vaccines. This should be absolutely clear. When I say Union government, I mean ministry of health and family welfare, ministry of commerce, the department for promotion of industry and internal trade, directorate general of foreign trade. These are the departments which can ban the export of vaccines in any hypothetical situation. They have not taken any action regarding this. So, this is my earnest request to media friends that we should be on guard when such misinformation is spread,” health secretary Rajesh Bhushan said.

Exports of Covishield allowed to all countries, clarifies Adar Poonawalla

Referring to the joint statement issued by the companies — Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech — which have got restricted, emergency-use approval, the secretary said, “Among other things, the statement said vaccines are a global public health good and that the companies are considering it as their duty to the nation and the world at large. So what does it mean? It means that neither the government and nor the vaccine makers are talking about any ban.”

The Associated Press has recently quoted Serum Institute CEO Adar Poonawalla as saying that the government has asked the world’s largest vaccine maker to not export vaccines to any other country. Serum Institute has earlier agreed to supply millions of doses of vaccines to Bangladesh, global vaccine alliance Gavi etc. Hence, the report led to confusions as Prime Minister Narendra Modi too reiterated that India’s ‘Make in India’ pledge has to translate to ‘Make for the world’. On vaccine too, specifically the prime minister had earlier said that India will be ready to supply vaccines to other countries.

On Tuesday, both Adar Poonawalla and the health ministry clarified that there was no such ban.

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