The first batches of Covishield, the Serum Institute of India’s coronavirus vaccine, left Pune early this morning for Delhi and 12 other cities, four days ahead of the nationwide inoculation drive against COVID-19.
Amid tight security, three temperature-controlled trucks rolled out of the Serum Institute gates with their precious cargo shortly before 5 am. The trucks carried 478 boxes of the vaccines, each box weighing 32 kg, news agency PTI reported quoting an unnamed official. A ”puja” was performed, along with the traditional breaking of coconuts, before the vehicles headed out of the facility for the Pune airport.
“Ready get set go! Stand by India! The vaccine to kill the disease is being loaded into the aircraft for distribution all over the country now,” Pune airport tweeted.
“Civil aviation sector launches yet another momentous mission,” tweeted Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri as the first two flights operated by SpiceJet and GoAir took off with the vaccines to Delhi and Chennai.
“Today, 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 and Chandigarh,” he said in another tweet.
Meanwhile, SpiceJet issued a statement saying that it is fully committed and prepared to transport the Covid vaccine both within and outside India.
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