'Spreading hope': Covid-19 vaccine doses reach far corners of India
Days before the scheduled start of the nationwide Covid-19 vaccination programme, the planes carrying vaccines transported the precious cargo to remote cities and towns of the country.
From Manipur to Goa and Jammu and Kashmir to Kerala, the vaccines were carefully and swiftly transported to far corners of the country, a day after the first consignment of the Covishield vaccine from the Oxford/AstraZeneca stable rolled out of the Serum Institute of India (SII) manufacturing facility in Pune.
Union civil aviation minister Hardeep Singh Puri kept giving information about the progress in vaccine distribution through his Twitter handle.
"Spreading hope & health across the country! The first batch of Covid vaccine for Sikkim handed over in a record time of 5mins (after the aircraft reached the bay) at Bagdogra Airport by @flyspicejet," he tweeted on Wednesday evening.
He also informed about the vaccine reaching Jammu via Srinagar.
"The health & wellness of every Indian matters. 67500 doses of covid vaccine reached Jammu via Srinagar on @flyspicejet flight today," Puri tweeted.
As much as 95 per cent of 1.1 crore doses of Oxford University-AstraZeneca's Covishield vaccine (manufactured by the SII) were delivered across the country, news agency PTI reported.
Another approved vaccine Covaxin, made by Bharat Biotech, has been sent to 12 sites, one each in Guwahati, Patna, Delhi, Kurukshetra, Bengaluru, Pune, Bhubaneswar, Jaipur, Chennai, Lucknow and Hyderabad.
The shipments were carried out by SpiceJet, IndiGo, GoAir and Vistara airlines.
Ahead of the pan-India start of inoculation drive on January 16, state governments have firmed up their plans and fine-tuned logistical details.
In Delhi, where the drive will begin in 89 centres, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said his AAP government will provide the vaccine free if the Centre fails to do so.
He said he has already appealed to the Centre as there are many people in the country who can’t afford the life-saving jab.
In accordance with the national priority list, the vaccine will be first given to healthcare and frontline workers in the first phase.