Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata and Hyderabad, the four major regional depots for vaccines, received their quantum of Covishield doses within 10 hours since their dispatch began from the SII premises at 4.30am on Tuesday. Overall, 55 lakh of the total 1.1 crore doses were dispatched from the SII premises till 5pm on Tuesday, officials confirmed. “The transport exercise for the remaining doses will continue till Wednesday evening,” a senior SII official said.
Covaxin doses will reach Hyderabad airport early Wednesday morning after which they will be shipped to around 11 destinations across the country, including Delhi, Bengaluru, Chennai, Patna, Lucknow and Jaipur, sources in Bharat Biotech and the aviation industry confirmed to TOI.
PREPARING FOR THE VACCINE
On Day 1, Bengal gets 10L vaccine doses, tops states
Other cities like Patna, Guwahati, Vijaywada, Lucknow, Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Bhubaneswar and Chandigarh also received their sanctioned doses on Tuesday afternoon. While UP, Bihar, Bengal, Odisha, Punjab, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Andhra, Karnataka, J&K, Assam, Meghalaya and Delhi received a part of their quota by Tuesday evening, states like Maharashtra, Haryana, Kerala, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, Himachal, Jharkhand, MP, and Chhattisgarh, among others, will get their shipments in the next 24 to 48 hours.
Among the states that received the vaccine on Tuesday, Bengal topped the list with 10 lakh doses, followed by Karnataka (6.7 lakh doses), Bihar (5.5 lakh doses) and Tamil Nadu
(5.4 lakh doses). As many as 9.6 lakh doses of Covishield will be shipped out from Pune to other parts of Maharashtra on Wednesday.
The Centre has placed orders to procure 1.1 crore doses of Covishield and 55 lakh doses of Covaxin, which is being produced by Bharat Biotech. While Covishield is priced at Rs 200 per dose, the arrangement with Bharat Biotech is such that it is charging Rs 295 per dose for 38.5 lakh doses and providing the rest 16.5 lakh doses free of cost. “Hence, the cost of Covaxin is Rs 206 per dose,” Union health seceratry Rajesh Bhushan said.
The first vaccine consignment of the country, comprising 2.6 lakh Covishield doses loaded in three trucks, arrived at Pune airport’s cargo handling and processing facility at 5.30am on Tuesday and was shipped out at 8.05 am on SpiceXpress flight SG8937.
Currently, SII is manufacturing 7 crore to 8 crore vaccine doses per month. Private players have been roped in for providing refrigerated trucks, vans and cold storage.
Sources at Pune airport said 456 boxes containing the vaccine vials and weighing 15,000kg were transported to different states in nine aircraft of different airlines.
Aviation minister Hardeep Singh Puri tweeted: “Air India, SpiceJet, IndiGo and GoAir 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.”
Airlines called the start of the vaccine transportation a historic step. “We at GoAir are overwhelmed with the kind of responsibility bestowed upon us to transport the life-saving Covid-19 vaccines,” Kaushik Khona, CEO of GoAir, said.
IndiGo said they transported 900kg vaccine load from Pune to Chandigarh and Lucknow. “Starting January 13, the vaccine will be transported from Mumbai to other cities on the basis of allocation,” an IndiGo spokesperson said. “Happy that of the 50 lakh Covid-19 vaccine doses delivered Tuesday, SpiceJet delivered 40 lakh,” SpiceJet CMD Ajay Singh tweeted. After receiving the first vaccine flight, DIAL CEO Videh Kumar Jaipuria said: “…we have received the first batch of Covid-19 vaccine at our airport… Both our terminals can handle around 5.7 million vials in a day.”