Teachers should be prioritised for vaccination against COVID-19: UNICEF
Teachers should be prioritised for vaccination against COVID-19: UNICEFFile photo

Indian health secretary Rajesh Bhushan on Tuesday said the Indian government did not impose any ban on the export of COVID-19 vaccines being manufactured in the country, reports news agency UNB.

“The Union government has not banned the export of any of the COVID-19 vaccines. That is something which should be absolutely clear,” he said in a media briefing requesting newspersons to remain guarded against the spread of misinformation.

The Indian health secretary referred the Union government to mean the ministry of health and family welfare, ministry of commerce, the department for promotion of industry and internal trade, directorate general of foreign trade of India.

These are the departments which can ban the export of vaccines in any hypothetical situation. But these departments have not taken any action regarding this, the secretary pointed out.

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“Therefore, this is my earnest request to media friends that we should be on guard when such misinformation is sought to be spread,” Rajesh Bhushan said.

Poonawalla’s clarification

Referring to a joint statement issued by the Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech, the health 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 Hindustan Times quoted the health secretary as saying.

The Associated Press on Sunday quoted Serum Institute of India CEO Adar Poonawalla as saying that the government has asked the world’s largest vaccine maker to not export vaccines to any other country for several months.

Serum Institute earlier signed deals to supply millions of doses of vaccines to Bangladesh, global vaccine alliance, GAVI, etc.