Earlier, the batches of vaccine were sent from Serum Institute of India’s Pune facility to the airport in trucks shortly before 5am. The vaccine boxes are expected to be send to different parts of the country for the vaccination drive to begin on January 16.
The trucks carried 478 boxes of the vaccines, each box weighing 32 kg, a news agency reported.
On Monday, the Serum Institute of India 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 mass immunisation programme in India.
According to NITI Aayog member (health) VK Paul, both Covishield and Covaxin would be used in the initial phase itself. 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 in open market.
In the first leg, 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.
The Maharashtra police had offered to provide security cover for the movement of vaccine-carrying vehicles within the state.
Last week, a meeting of all stakeholders was held in Pune to finalise the standard operating procedure to transport the vaccine from Pune airport to various destinations. The Pune police also held a meeting with the company and logistics providers about escorting vehicles to the airport and the movement of vehicles by road.