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India's first consignment of COVID-19 vaccine carried from Pune to Delhi
New Delhi, January 12, 2021
India's first consignment of COVID-19 vaccine was airlifted from Pune to Delhi today, marking an important step towards what will be one of the largest immunisation exercises ever in the world.
The consignment of Covishield, the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine manufactured by the Serum Institute of India (SII), Pune, was carried by SpiceJet, a press release from the airline said.
“I am happy to share that SpiceJet has carried India’s first consignment of COVID vaccine today. The first consignment of Covishield consisting of 34 boxes and weighing 1088 kg was carried from Pune to Delhi on SpiceJet flight 8937," SpiceJet Chairman and Managing Director Ajay Singh said.
"We will be carrying multiple vaccine consignments to different Indian cities including Guwahati, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Bhubaneswar, Bengaluru, Patna and Vijayawada through the day today.
"SpiceJet is fully committed and prepared to transport the Covid vaccine both within and outside India. Today marks the beginning of a long and decisive phase in India’s fight against the pandemic and SpiceJet is proud to assist in the biggest vaccination drive in the history of mankind,” Ajay Singh added.
The Drugs Controller General of India (DGCI) V G Somani had on January 3 announced the approval of two COVID-19 vaccines -- Covishield of Serum Institute of India (SII) and Covaxin of Bharat Biotech -- for restricted use in emergency situation in the country, paving the way for the immunisation of millions of Indians against the deadly virus in the coming months.
The countrywide vaccination drive against the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19 will begin from January 16.
This was decided after Prime Minister Narendra Modi chaired a high-level meeting on January 9 to conduct a detailed review of the status of COVID-19 in the country as well as the preparedness of the States and Union Territories (UTs) for the vaccination campaign.
Later, Modi said on Twitter that the launch of the vaccination campaign would be a "landmark step" in the fight against COVID-19.
"On 16th January, India takes a landmark step forward in fighting COVID-19. Starting that day, India’s nation-wide vaccination drive begins. Priority will be given to our brave doctors, healthcare workers, frontline workers including Safai Karamcharis," he had added.
The roll-out of COVID-19 vaccine will provide priority to the healthcare workers and the frontline workers who are estimated to be around 3 crore, followed by those above 50 years of age and the under-50 population groups with co-morbidities, numbering around 27 crore.