'This is a historical moment that vaccine is being dispatched from our factory. Our main challenge is to make it available to everyone in the country,' SII CEO Adar Poonawalla said
Ahead of the first phase of the Covid-19 vaccination drive scheduled to start from 16 January, vaccine transportation has started from Pune to 13 locations across the country, Union minister Hardeep Singh Puri said on Tuesday.
In a series of tweets, the Minister said 56.5 lakh doses of vaccines are being transported to Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata, Guwahati, Shillong, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Vijayawada, Bhubaneswar, Patna, Bengaluru, Lucknow and Chandigarh, from Pune.
"Civil aviation sector launches yet another momentous mission. Vaccine movement starts. First two flights operated by SpiceJet and GoAir from Pune to Delhi and Chennai have taken off," he tweeted.
"Today Air India, SpiceJet, GoAir and IndiGo 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," Puri added.
The consignment for Mumbai will be going by road, according to PTI. Trucks belonging to Kool-ex Cold Chain Ltd are being used to ferry the vaccine stocks. The trucks carried 478 boxes of the vaccines and each box weighs 32 kg.
The first flight carrying Covishield vaccine, has already reached Delhi, Gujarat, Chennai and Kolkata.
Serum Institute of India (SII) has received a purchase order from the Government of India for 11 million doses of Covishield vaccine, which would be available at the price of ₹200 per dose, SII officials had said on Monday.
"This is a historical moment that vaccine is being dispatched from our factory. Our main challenge is to make it available to everyone in the country. It is our challenge for 2021, let us see how it happens," Adar Poonawalla, chief executive officer, Serum Institute of India told ANI in an interview.
"We have given a special price of ₹200 for the first 100 million doses only to the Government of India on their request, because we want to support common man, vulnerable, poor and healthcare workers. After that, we will be selling it at ₹1,000 in private markets," he said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had earlier said around 3 crore healthcare workers and frontline workers will be vaccinated in the first phase of vaccination. "In the second phase, those above 50 years and those under 50 years with co-morbid conditions will be vaccinated," he added.