The Union Health Ministry said on Saturday (October 9) that the government has put in place a “quantitative restriction” on the export of three categories of syringes for three months, to boost their domestic availability and uptake.
The ministry said that syringes are vital to sustain ‘the momentum of the programme’ to vaccinate all eligible citizens against COVID-19, ‘in the shortest possible time.’
The ministry clarified that it is not an export ban on any type of syringes, but is only a ‘quantitative restriction’ on the export of certain type of specified syringes, for limited duration of three months.
“With a view to ensure adequate availability of syringes used to administer COVID-19 vaccine, the government of India has enacted this quantitative restriction on the export of three category denominations of syringes only for three months,” the ministry said in a statement.
The three categories of syringes that would be exempted from exports are 0.5 ml/ 1ml AD (auto–disable) syringes, 0.5 ml/1 ml/2 ml/3 ml disposable syringes, and 1ml/2 ml/3 ml RUP (re-use prevention) syringes.
“It is also clarified that it is not an export ban on any kind/type of syringes, it is only quantitative restriction on the export of certain type of specified syringes, for limited duration of three months. Further, the syringes of denominations and types other than those mentioned above are not covered under quantitative restriction,” the statement said.
A few days back, the government had imposed export curbs on syringes with immediate effect, a move aimed at discouraging outbound shipments of the product, in view of the present COVID-19 pandemic situation.
The Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) in a notification said, “The export of syringes with or without needles…has been put under the restricted category with immediate effect.”
Industry body All India Syringe and Needle Manufacturers Association had expressed disappointment over the decision to restrict the export of syringes, and urged the government not to put curbs on the export of non-COVID-19 size syringes.
The ministry in its statement said that the domestic vaccine manufacturers and manufacturers of syringes have played an important and critical role in the effective implementation of world’s largest COVID-19 vaccination programme.
Meanwhile, the cumulative COVID-19 vaccine doses administered in the country crossed 94 crore on Saturday.
(With inputs from Agencies)