Just days after the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI), the country’s national drug regulator issued a letter to the Serum Institute of India (SII), granting them permission to start manufacturing and for sale of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine ‘Covishield’ against the novel coronavirus, the Centre on Saturday, 9 January announced that India will begin is vaccination drive from 16 January.
The Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) had decided to accept the recommendations of its Subject Expert Committee (SEC), and approved two – SII’s ‘Covishield’ and Bharat Biotech ‘Covaxin.’ for restricted use in the country.
What happens now? Here’s what you need to know.
What happens now that the vaccines are approved?
The Centre will now sign agreements to procure the vaccine from SII, which has manufactured Oxford-AstraZeneca's Covishield and Bharat Biotech's Covaxin.
So, have the vaccines not been manufactured yet?
No, not really. The SII has stockpiled more than 80 million doses and this can hit the rollout system quickly. On the other hand, Covaxin is yet to manufacture in bulk and the rollout of this vaccine could take some time.
How will the vaccine be distributed when the rollout starts?
The vaccine will arrive from the manufacturing unit to the airport in special cargo vehicles.
Post this, it will be taken to four centers of storage points:
It will then be taken in special refrigerated vans to each city/district.
What will happen in a city like Delhi?
In Delhi, once the vaccine arrives either to the airport/or from Karnal, it will be taken to 609 cold-chain points across the city, in cold vans, reported The Times of India.
Following this, it will be taken to over 1,000 vaccination booths that will be set up.
How will the airport ensure fast movement of vaccines in and out of the airport?
- Dedicated gates will ensure express movement of vehicles carrying COVID-19 vaccines in and out of the airport
- Multiple charging points at the terminals to handle temperature-controlled containers
- 'Cool Dollies' are ready to ensure that temperature remains unbroken as the vaccines move from terminal to aircraft and vice-versa
- QR code-based e-pass will to be used for faster movement of vaccines from the airport, cutting down on paperwork and reducing human interface
How long can the vaccine be stored?
The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine can be stored for six months when storied between 2 to 6 degree Celsius. Once opened, the multi-dose vials should be used within 6 hours, when kept between 2 to 6 degree Celsius.
When will this rollout begin?
The vaccination drive against coronavirus should begin in January. For example, in United States and United Kingdom, the first shots were administered within 1-2 days of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines receiving regulatory nod.
While timelines are not announced yet, the drive is likely to begin soon with Covishield.
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