The Union government has not banned the export of any COVID-19 vaccine that has been granted restricted emergency use approval by the drug regulator, the Health Ministry said on Tuesday, while urging the media to guard against the spread of such misinformation.
The Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) had on Sunday approved Oxford COVID-19 vaccine Covishield, manufactured by the Serum Institute, and indigenously developed Covaxin of Bharat Biotech for restricted emergency use in the country, paving the way for a massive inoculation drive.
Responding to a question during a press briefing on Tuesday, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bushan said, "The Union government has not banned the export of any one of the COVID-19 vaccines and this should be absolutely clear."
"When I say Union government, it means there are three ministries --- Ministry of Health, Ministry of Commerce, the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade with the Ministry of Commerce and Directorate General of Foreign Trade -- which can initiate, in a hypothetical scenario, such an action."
"But none of them have taken any such action. Therefore, our request to our media friends would be that we should be on guard when such misinformation is sought to be spread," Bhushan said.
The Union Health Secretary also highlighted two important points from a joint statement issued by the Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech.
"The statement mentions two important elements. It says that vaccines are a global public health good. They also say that we communicate our joint pledge to provide global access for our COVID-19 vaccines. That means neither the Union government nor the vaccine manufacturers are talking of any ban on the export of vaccines," he said.
Serum Institute of India (SII) and Bharat Biotech on Tuesday said they will work together to develop, manufacture and supply the COVID-19 vaccines in India and globally.
In a joint statement on behalf of the two companies, SII CEO Adar Poonawalla and Bharat Biotech Chairman and Managing Director Krishna Ella announced their combined intent to develop, manufacture and supply the COVID-19 vaccines for India and the world.
They noted that the most important task in front of them was saving lives and livelihoods in India and globally.
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