Serum Institute's first Covid-19 vaccine consignments to reach 13 locations on Tuesday

By ANI
PUNE: The first consignment containing vials of Covishield vaccine were dispatched from the Serum Institute of India here in the early hours of Tuesday, ahead of the January 16 launch of the nationwide vaccination drive.

Amid tight security, three trucks carrying the very first consignment of the Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid vaccine left for Pune airport to be flown to 13 locations across the country today.

“The first flight will leave for Delhi from Pune airport,” Sandip Bhosale, SB Logistics, the logistics team which is handling air transport of Covishield vaccine from Pune International Airport told ANI.

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A total of eight flights- two cargo flights and other regular commercial flights will carry the vaccines, he said.

“All vaccines will be dispatched by 10 am,” he added.

The locations include Delhi, Karnal, Ahmedabad, Chandigarh, Lucknow, Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Vijayawada, Bhubhaneshwar, Kolkata and Guwahati.

The first Cargo flight with the vaccines will drop off the consignment at Hyderabad, Vijayawada and Bhubhaneshwar while the second cargo flight will go to Kolkata and Guwahati.

“The first consignment of the vaccine has been dispatched from the facility of Serum Institute of India here. We have made elaborate security arrangements,” said Namrata Patil, Deputy Superintendent of Police (DCP), Pune.

Pune-based logistic firm Kool-ex Cold Chain tasked with ferrying the vaccine stocks via tech-enabled trucks laced with temperature control feature ranging from -25 degrees to +25 degrees Celsius.

Serum Institute of India (SII) has received a purchase order from the Government of India for 11 million doses of Covishield vaccine, which would be available at the price of Rs 200 per dose, SII officials had said on Monday

The first phase of the COVID-19 vaccination drive in the country is starting from January 16. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had earlier said: “We aim to vaccinate 30 crore people in the next few months.”

Around 3 crore healthcare workers and frontline workers will be vaccinated in the first phase of vaccination, he added. In the second phase, those above 50 years and those under 50 years with co-morbid conditions will be vaccinated, he further said.