PUNE: The process of transporting Covishield vaccine began on Monday after the Serum Institute of India (SII) received the Centre’s initial purchase order for 11 million doses at Rs 200 per dose.
This makes the Oxford University-AstraZeneca vaccine, which is being manufactured by SII, the first Covid-19 vaccine to be used for India’s mass immunization programme.
NITI Aayog member (health) VK Paul told a television channel that both Covishield and Covaxin would be used in the initial phase itself.
On Monday evening, six refrigerated trucks reached SII to begin transportation of the Covishield vaccine amid tight police security. The trucks containing vials of the vaccine were set to leave the institute early Tuesday for dispatch across the country.
The vaccine doses will be administered to priority groups, including 3 crore healthcare and frontline workers, for free from January 16. The vaccine, likely to be available in the market by June, is expected to cost Rs 1,000 per dose then.
A cold chain logistics service provider, Kool-Ex Cold Chain Ltd, has been assigned the responsibility of moving the vaccine from SII’s manufacturing plant in Pune to 48 government depots in the first leg.
On Monday, police vans escorted the trucks to the SII premises, where policemen were deployed throughout the day. Police have said that four vans, each with four policemen, will be escorting the trucks from SII to the airport.
Sources said that of the six trucks, two were expected to go to Gujarat
and one to Karnal. Some shipments are expected by the first flights out of Pune airport on Tuesday morning.
Pune deputy commissioner of police Namrata Patil said that one of the six vans carrying the vaccines would be leaving the SII premises on Monday night for Naidu Hospital in the city. The hospital is a dedicated centre for treating infectious diseases.
Courtesy – timesofindia.com