Over 54.72 lakh doses of vaccine has reached the designated national and state-level vaccine stores across the country, ahead of the nationwide Covid-19 vaccination drive that will start on January 16.
The first consignment of Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin from Hyderabad airport landed in Delhi airport on Wednesday. The airline, Air India transported the consignment containing three boxes, weighing 80.5kg in the early hours to the national capital.
Amid tight security, about half a crore doses of SII’s Covishield were shipped out of Pune to Delhi, Chennai, Guwahati, Kolkata, Ahmedabad, Shillong, Hyderabad, Vijayawada, Bhubaneswar, Bengaluru, Patna, Chandigarh and Lucknow on Tuesday. Three temperature controlled trucks containing a total 477 boxes of vaccine cargo, each weighing 32 kg, rolled out of the Serum Institute gates.
The airlines transported 7.08 lakh doses to Chennai, and 2.76 lakh doses to Ahmedabad, 276,000 doses to Guwahati, 996,000 doses to Kolkata, 3,72,000 doses to Hyderabad, 480,000 doses to Bhubaneswar, 648,000 doses to Bengaluru, 552,000 doses to Patna, and 408,000 doses to Vijayawada from Pune on Tuesday.
While Mumbai received over 1.39 lakh Covishield vaccine doses and 35,000 doses of Covishield arrived in Shillong on Wednesday morning.
The Union Health Ministry has said that the stock will increase to 1.65 crore doses by Thursday, out of which 1.1 crore will be of Covishield vaccine developed by Pune’s Serum Institute of India in collaboration with Oxford-AstraZeneca. Another 55 lakh will be of Covaxin manufactured by Hyderabad’s Bharat Biotech.
The Covishield vaccine from the Serum Institute of India was procured by the government at a price of Rs 200 per dose, excluding taxes, while 55 lakh doses of Covaxin are being procured from Bharat Biotech at Rs 206, said the Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan.
The government also said that recipients may not have an option to select which one they want to be incolutated with. Bhushan said many countries across the world are using more than one vaccine, there is no such option available to any of the beneficiaries in these countries. He indicated that similar cases might be seen in India as well.
Beside the two vaccines, four more Covid-19 vaccines- Sputnik V, Zydus Cadila, Gennova, and Biological E are in the pipelines and their manufacturers will soon apply for emergency use authorisation from the Drug Controller General of India (DGCI), added Bhushan.
Meanwhile, the massive pan-India inoculation drive, what officials call the world’s biggest vaccination drive will begin in India from January 16. The Centre has planned to administer vaccine shots to 1.3 billion people in the first phase of the vaccination drive. Around 3 crores healthcare and frontline workers will be the first in line to receive the shot.The vaccines will have to be administered at a 28-day gap.