As the first batch of Covid-19 vaccines was sent to several cities across India from Pune’s Serum Institute of India (SII) on Tuesday morning, Union civil aviation minister Hardeep Singh Puri tweeted four carriers will operate nine flights to transport 5.65 million doses of Covishield.
Two vaccines, Covishield and Covaxin, have been given emergency use authorisation (EUA) by the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI). Covishield has been developed jointly by Oxford University and AstraZeneca and Covaxin is India’s first and indigenous vaccine against Covid-19, which has been developed by Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech International Limited.
A SpiceJet flight landed in Delhi from the Pune international airport with the first consignment of the Covid-19 vaccines.
“Civil aviation sector launches yet another momentous mission. Vaccine movement starts. First two flights operated by @flyspicejet and @goairlinesindia from Pune to Delhi and Chennai have taken off,” Puri tweeted.
“Today @airindiain, @flyspicejet, @goairlinesindia and @IndiGo6E will operate 9 flights from Pune with 56.5 lakh doses to Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata, Guwahati, Shillong, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Vijayawada, Bhubaneswar, Patna, Bengaluru, Lucknow and Chandigarh,” the civil aviation minister said in another tweet.
India will commence what will be the world’s largest vaccination drive from January 16. Interacting with chief ministers on the country’s vaccination plan, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday had said 30 million frontline workers will be vaccinated in the first phase, adding that the government would vaccinate 300 million citizens in the next few months.
India is the world’s second worst-hit country after the United States with more than 10.47 million cases, as per the Union health ministry’s data on Tuesday.