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news details
COVID vaccine rollout: First consignment of Covidshield reaches Delhi, Ahmedabad
1/12/2021 12:54:43 PM
NEW DELHI: With the much-anticipated vaccination drive to combat Covid-19 on the anvil, domestic airlines on Tuesday have started transporting doses of the vaccine to cities across the country. Flights across airlines would carry a total of 56.5 lakh doses to several cities during the day from Pune. The first two flights of carrying vaccines have already reached from Pune to Delhi and Ahmedabad.

A SpiceJet flight carrying the vaccines landed at the Delhi airport around 10 am. It had left for the national capital around 8 am, three hours after three trucks with the maiden consignment of the vaccines rolled out of the Serum Institute of India (SII) facility, 15 km from the Pune airport.


Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said four airlines will operate nine flights to transport 56.5 lakh doses of COVID-19 vaccine from Pune to 13 cities across the country on Tuesday. Vaccine movement has started, he said on Twitter, adding that the first two flights operated by "SpiceJet and GoAir from Pune to Delhi and Chennai have taken off". In another tweet, Puri said that Air India, SpiceJet, GoAir and IndiGo will operate nine flights from Pune with 56.5 lakh doses to Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata, Guwahati, Shillong, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Vijayawada, Bhubaneswar, Patna, Bengaluru, Lucknow and Chandigarh.

Three temperature-controlled trucks rolled out of the Serum Institute gates shortly before 5 am and left for Pune airport, from where the vaccines will be flown across India. A 'puja' was performed before the vehicles left the facility.


"I am happy to share that SpiceJet has carried India's first consignment of COVID vaccine today. The first consignment of Covishield consisting of 34 boxes and weighing 1,088 kg was carried from Pune to Delhi on SpiceJet flight 8937," said Ajay Singh, Chairman and Managing Director, SpiceJet.

Covishield is developed by Oxford University and British-Swedish company AstraZeneca and manufactured by the SII. The roll-out of COVID-19 vaccine will give priority to the healthcare and frontline workers who are estimated to be around 3 crore, followed by those above 50 years of age and the under-50 population groups with comorbidities numbering around 27 crore.The government on Monday placed firm orders in advanced commitments for over 6 crore doses of COVID vaccine from SII and Bharat Biotech for inoculating three crore healthcare and frontline workers in the first phase of the vaccination drive scheduled to start from January 16, together which will cost Rs 1,300 crore.

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 have scaled up to over 1.04 crore cases and death toll stands at over 1.51 lakh, as per Health Ministry data.

Interacting with Chief Ministers on Monday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi underscored the enormity of what he called as the world's biggest vaccination exercise, saying over 30 crore citizens will get the jabs in the next few months in India against only 2.5 crore people vaccinated so far in over 50 countries in around a month.
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