Covishield Reaches States as SII Dispatches 1st Batch of Vaccines

Delhi, Chennai, Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Mumbai have received the first batches of the vaccine.

4 min read

Video Producer: Shohini Bose
Video Editor: Deepthi Ramdas

The first consignment of COVID-19 vaccine ‘Covishield’ was dispatched from Pune’s Serum Institute of India (SII) in the early hours of Tuesday, 12 January. Mumbai received it’s first batch on Wednesday.

By 4 pm, over 54 lakh Covishield doses reached their designated national and state-level vaccine stores, the government said, PTI reported.

The consignment, in three temperature-controlled trucks, departed for the city’s airport early on Tuesday. According to PTI, a puja was also performed before the vehicles left the facility.

From the airport, the vaccine doses are being shipped to 13 cities across the country for a nationwide vaccination drive scheduled for 16 January. Delhi, Chennai, Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Kolkata and Hyderabad among others have already received the first batches.

“Ready get set go! Stand by India!” tweeted Pune Airport.


Vaccines Reach Several Cities

Soon after SII sent out the consignment, the first batches of Covishield reached several cities across India.

Delhi was the first to receive the consignment at the Indira Gandhi International Airport. Speaking about the delivery, the Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL) CEO said, “A temperature-controlled facility, ranging from -20 degrees Celsius to +25 degrees Celsius at our two cargo terminals can efficiently and safely handle COVID-19 vaccines. Both terminals can handle around 5.7 million vials in a day,” according to ANI. The consignment has reportedly reached the national capital’s central storage facility at Rajiv Gandhi Super Specialty Hospital.

The first consignment of the vaccine arrived at Ahmedabad's Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport, where Gujarat Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel was present, according to ANI.

Chennai has also received the first batch of Covishield.

First consignment of COVID-19 vaccination arrives at Chennai Airport.
First consignment of COVID-19 vaccination arrives at Chennai Airport.
Photo: PTI

The SII vaccine consignment also reached the Hyderabad airport. Pradeep Panicker, the airport’s CEO, also informed that the first consignment of Bharat Biotech vaccine will be going to 11 destinations outside the state by Tuesday evening, according to ANI.

Bengaluru received 6,48 lakh doses of Covishield, which arrived in 54 boxes at the Kempegowda International Airport, The News Minute reported. This is the first consignment out of the total of 7.95 lakh doses in the first phase of vaccine distribution. The doses received on Tuesday will be stored in the government storage facility near the Anand Rao circle in Bengaluru, the report said.

The consignment of Covishield also reached the Kolkata airport on Tuesday afternoon, and was taken to Central Family Medical Stores in Bagbazar for storage, ANI reported.

In Patna, the SII vaccine consignment was brought to Nalanda Medical College, where it is being stored.

Meanwhile, the first consignment of Covishield has also arrived in Mumbai, having been brought from Pune in a special vehicle of the BMC, ANI reported. “Total 9.63 lakh doses have been received for Maharashtra from the Serum Institute of India. All doses were received by the Health Department in Pune last night, and from there they were distributed to different cities/districts of the state,” the Maharashtra Health Department said on Wednesday.

Vaccines Dispatched to 13 Cities

From the Pune airport, the vaccines were to be dispatched to 13 cities.

“Today, Air India, SpiceJet, and IndiGo Airlines 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,” Union Civil Aviation Min Hardeep S Puri said, according to ANI.

According to a report by PTI, the vaccines are being flown from Pune in eight commercial flights, including two cargo flights.

While the first cargo flight covers Hyderabad, Vijayawada, and Bhubaneswar, the second cargo flight covers Kolkata and Guwahati, PTI reported quoting a source. Mumbai’s consignment, meanwhile, left by road.

"All vaccines will be dispatched by 10 am," Sandip Bhosale of SB Logistics, the team that is handling air transport of Covishield from the Pune International Airport, had told ANI.

According to ANI, Pune-based logistic firm Kool-ex Cold Chain has been assigned the task of ferrying the vaccine stocks via tech-enabled trucks, with a feature to control the temperature ranging from -25 degrees to +25 degrees Celsius.

COVID Vaccination in India Starts on 16 January

Administration of the COVID-19 vaccine in India is slated to begin on 16 January.

On Tuesday, the government informed that all vaccine doses, 1.10 crore from Serum Institute and 55 lakh from Bharat Biotech, will be delivered to all states and Union territories by 14 January.

Two vaccine candidates – SII’s ‘Covishield’ and Bharat Biotech’s ‘Covaxin’ – were earlier given emergency use approval by India’s top drug regulator.

“After the detailed review, it was decided that in view of the forthcoming festivals, including Lohri, Makar Sankranti, Pongal, Magh Bihu etc., the COVID-19 vaccination will start from 16th January 2021,” the Centre had said on Saturday.

“Priority will be given to the healthcare and the frontline workers, estimated to be around 3 crore, followed by those above 50 years and the under-50 population groups with co-morbidities numbering around 27 crore,” the Centre said.

Holding a virtual meeting with chief ministers on 16 January, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday said the coordination between Centre and states in fighting COVID-19 is a great example of federalism.

(With inputs from ANI and PTI.)

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