First Flight Carrying COVID-19 Vaccines Departs From Pune

Pune: The first flight carrying COVID-19 vaccines — Covishield — from the Serum Institute of India (SII) left Pune at 8 am and is expected to land in Delhi at 10.15 am, according to officials aware of the development.

The first doses of the vaccine are being ferried by Spicejet flight SG 8937 to the national capital. At least a dozen of flights are scheduled to depart with doses of the vaccine on Tuesday, reported Hindustan Times.

Covishield’s first doses were sent via three trucks from SII’s Pune campus for Lohegaon Airport early on Tuesday.

The frontline workers will be the first to be vaccinated from January 16 in the country. The entire cost of vaccinating 30 million health care and frontline workers will be taken care of by the Centre, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced on Monday. Frontline workers include employees across government departments, the police and civic bodies.

The Centre had issued guidelines last Friday for the packaging and transportation of the COVID-19 vaccines by air. The guidelines directed airlines and airport authorities to ensure the vaccines are packaged in dry ice and refrigerated material in a bid to maintain low temperatures ranging between -8°C to -70°C essential for its transportation, the HT report said.

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 & Chandigarh, Union Civil Aviation Min Hardeep S Puri said on Tuesday.

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