Coronavirus: First consignment of Serum Institute's Covishield vaccine arrives in Delhi

By Satata Karmakar | Updated:Tue, January 12, 2021 12:52pm

The first consignment of 'Covishield' vaccine consisting of 34 boxes and weighing 1,088 kg was carried from Pune to Delhi on SpiceJet flight 8937.

The first batch of the Covishield vaccine, which left from Serum Institute of India for Pune airport earlier on Tuesday morning, has arrived at New Delhi's Indira Gandhi international airport. This is a decisive phase in India's fight against Covid-19, four days ahead of the nationwide inoculation drive launch.  Also Read - COVID-19 Live Updates: Cases in India surge to 10,595,660 while death toll reaches 1,52,718

The trucks came out of the SII premises under a massive security cordon led by Deputy Commissioner of Police Namrata Patil and a few staffers of the SII who cheered and applauded as the consignment left the heavily guarded premises.  Also Read - Obesity, alcohol consumption can lower effectiveness of Covid-19 vaccines

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While two trucks belonged to SII, another belonged to its collaborator in the venture, Koolex, and the Pune Police would escort it right up to the airport, Patil later told media persons.

Security-Enhanced At Airport As First Batch of COVID Vaccine Reaches Delhi

Security has been stepped up at the Indira Gandhi International Airport in the national capital from where the first consignment of Covishield vaccines from Pune will be transported to different parts of the city on Tuesday, police said.

"Civil aviation sector launches yet another momentous mission," tweeted Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri as the first two flights operated by SpiceJet and GoAir took off with the vaccines to Delhi and Chennai.

Covid-19 Vaccine Distribution - The Current Plan

Official sources said that as per the current plans, the vaccines shall be flown in two flights each to Chandigarh, Chennai, Kolkata and one flight each to Patna, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Lucknow, Gandhinagar, Vijayawada, Bhubaneswar, and Guwahati during the day.

After landing at their respective destinations, the local and state authorities shall start their distribution to vaccinate the frontline workers and other priority groups as decided by the government.

The consignment, in around 450 boxes weighing nearly 14.50 tonnes carrying the precious cargo of vials, were packed in white boxes covered with plastic for maximum safety and temperature protection.

Coronavirus Vaccination From 16 January In India

Over the next few days, more consignments are expected to be delivered by SII to the government for what could be the world's biggest vaccination drive against the Covid-19.

The Union Health Ministry on Saturday said that the much-awaited coronavirus vaccination drive will kick off on January 16.

The roll-out of the Covid-19 vaccine will give priority to the healthcare and frontline workers who are estimated to be around 3 crores, followed by those above 50 years of age and the under-50 population groups with comorbidities numbering around 27 crores.

On January 3, two vaccines - Bharat Biotech's Covaxin and Oxford-AstraZeneca's Covishield manufactured by Serum Institute of India - were approved for restricted emergency use.

The vaccine approval process has been marred with controversies after Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech's Covaxin was approved for emergency use without the phase-3 trials.

The total tally of Covid-positive cases in India has scaled up to over 1.04 crore cases and the death toll stands at over 1.51 lakh, as per Health Ministry data.

Published:Tue, January 12, 2021 12:49pm | Updated:Tue, January 12, 2021 12:52pm


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