In a major development, the first consignment of Covishield (Oxford-AstraZeneca) vaccines has left for the National Capital from Serum Institute of India (SII) in Pune. The consignment has reached Delhi just now.
As per reports, the vaccines were carried by a Spicejet flight (SG 8937), which departed from Pune’s Lohegaon Aiport at 8 am and will reach Delhi by 10:15 am. It is important to note that several flights will ferry Covisheild vaccines to 13 locations across India, including Kolkata, Chennai, Bengaluru, Mumbai, Karnal, Hyderabad, Vijayawada, Guwahati, Lucknow, Delhi, Ahmedabad, Chandigarh and Bhubaneswar. The vaccines for Mumbai will be transported via road.
The vaccines were ferried out of the SII’s campus before 5 am by three temperature-controlled trucks. Reportedly, a puja was also performed before the trucks departed for the airport. The vehicles, owned by Kool-ex Cold Chain Ltd, carried a total of 478 boxes of vaccines, each weighing about 32 kg.
#WATCH | Three trucks carrying Covishield vaccine reached Pune airport from Serum Institute of India’s facility in the city, earlier this morning.— ANI (@ANI) January 12, 2021
From the airport, the vaccine doses will be shipped to different locations in the country. The vaccination will start on January 16. pic.twitter.com/v3jk4WUyyq
The Indian government will begin the first phase of its vaccination programme, starting from January 16. During the vaccination drive, a total of 30 million frontline workers, including health care workers, government employees, police and other civic bodies.
DGCA guidelines on packaging and transport of Coronavirus vaccines
On Friday, the Director-General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) issued guidelines for the transportation of Coronavirus vaccines. It had stated that all airport authorities and airline must package the consignment with refrigerated material and dry ice to keep the temperature range between -8° C to -70° C. At the same time, DGCA reiterated that all operators carrying dangerous goods are permitted to carry the Covisheild vaccines.
Serum Institute receives purchase order for 11 million doses
The Serum Institute on India on Monday said it has received purchased order from the Centre for the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, news agency ANI quoted SII officials as confirming. The officials further said that the vaccine would be available at Rs 200 per vial. SII has been manufacturing the Covishield vaccine in its facility in Pune, which is the world’s largest vaccine manufacturing plant.
According to the report published by Reuters, the Indian government will now be buying 11 million doses of Serum Institute of India’s Oxford Covid-19 vaccine ‘Covishield’ via HLL Care. The report further mentioned that the government has inked a purchase agreement with Bharat Biotech for its COVID-19 vaccine as well. The Indian government plans to procure 600 million doses for India’s vaccination blitz that aims to inoculate 300 million citizens over the next six to eight months, the Reuters report said.