The biggest vaccine rollout in the history of India began on Tuesday, as Serum Institute of India – the manufacturer of Oxford University’s Covishield, shipped out its first lot of the vaccine. With the ‘May all be free from disease’ slogan printed on the boxes, they were shipped out to Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata and Hyderabad which received their share of Covishield within 10 hours of the dispatch.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi also interacted with all the Chief Ministers from all states to discuss the Covid vaccine rollout and the inoculation drive which begins in India on 16th January. He said, “Coordination between Centre, states in fighting COVID-19 great example of federalism. He also stated, “Around 3 crore healthcare workers and frontline workers will be vaccinated in the first phase of vaccination. In the 2nd phase, those above 50 years and those under 50 years with co-morbid conditions will be vaccinated”.
Overall, 55 lakh of the total 1.1 crore doses were dispatched from SII premises on Tuesday and the transport exercise will continue till 13th evening. Other cities like Patna, Guwahati, Vijaywada, Lucknow, Ahmedabad, Bhubaneswar and Chandigarh received their sanctioned doses on 12th afternoon. While these cities received their share of the doses, states like Maharashtra, Haryana, Kerala, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, Himachal, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh will do so by 13th and 14th January.
The Union Health Ministry, in a press conference, said the inoculation program, was billed as the world’s largest. According to the Health Ministry, 110 lakh doses of Covishield are being procured at ₹ 200 per dose. 55 lakh doses of Covaxin, developed by Bharat Biotech are also being procured. Both these vaccines have been approved by the country’s drug regulator for restricted emergency use.
Bharat Biotech is charging ₹ 295 per dose for 38.5 lakh doses. The company has partnered with the Indian Council of Medical Research for the vaccine, will give 16.5 lakh doses to the Centre, free of cost.