COVID-19 vaccination drive: SII produced Covishield dispatch likely to be early morning tomorrow
Pune, Jan 11: With preparations in full swing for the nation-wide Coronavirus vaccination drive scheduled on January 16, the dispatch of Serum Institute of India's Covishield vaccine doses from Pune has been delayed yet again and is now likely to happen by early morning tomorrow, as per sources, reports ANI.
Earlier in the day, the government has sent a purchase order of 11 million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine to Serum Institute of India, the Pune-based pharmaceutical firm confirmed on Monday.
"We have received the (purchase) order from the Government of India on Monday afternoon," a senior SII official told PTI.
Serum Institute Of India is selling its Covishield vaccine at Rs 210 per vaccine dose for first 100 million doses.
Koolex Cold Chain Limited, a Mumbai-based pharma supply chain company which has a specialization in temperature control logistic in Pune is all set to transport the COVID19 vaccines from Serum Institute of India to other parts of the country, and the Maharashtra government has ordered police protection for its trucks.
India will launch its COVID-19 vaccination drive from January 16
Kool-Ex Cold Chain Ltd's co-founder Rahul Agarwal said,''We've been doing this for over 12 years. Our trucks can be temperature controlled from -25 to +25°C. Every truck is tech-enabled. Various state govts have given security cover for trucks where they'll get police escort till they reach destination.''
''Preparations began a month ago, now we're ready. We've been asked to prepare for vaccine transportation anywhere in India. We have 300-350 vehicles & a back up of 500-600. As soon as we get orders, we can start loading vaccine from consigner in 3-4 hrs,'' he further said.
Agarwal earlier told PTI that his firm is the lead vendor for Pune-based Serum Institute of India (SII), Bharat Biotech and other vaccine- making firms.
"We are the lead vendor for the movement of the vaccine from factories to 48 primary government locations (depots) in the first leg," he said.
He said the Maharashtra government has issued anorder to provide police security to vaccine-carrying trucks, be it from the factory to the airport or from the factory to an adjoining state by road.
The company representatives met officials of the Maharashtra home department on Friday and also Pune police officials on Saturday to discuss the security cover for the trucks.
Confirming the development, Pune police commissioner Amitabh Gupta said, "We had a meeting with them. We told them that since trucks would start their journey from Pune (where SII is based), a security cover would be given for the initial period."
Agarwal said his firm has been told that the first consignments will be met in the states by respective chief ministers or health ministers.
"It is a high profile matter, so the state government thought that since Maharashtra is the first producer of the vaccine, there should not be any untoward incident during the transportation of the vaccine," Agarwal said.
"As the government wanted to streamline the convoy system for the trucks carrying vaccines, they asked us to go and meet CP, Pune, Superintendent of Police, Pune rural and Pimpri Chinchwad police commissioner and coordinate," he said.
During the meetings with Pune police, it was decided that one nodal officer and one control point will be in place for monitoring the trucks, he said.
There will be security cover for 10-15 days while the trucks move from the factory to the airport or to other states by road, Agarwal said.
Around 300 GPS-equipped trucks will be used and an additional 500 trucks will be ready, he said.
"However, I don''t think we would need that many trucks as the entire vaccination process will be staggered over next one to two years," he added.
The SII vaccine developed by Oxford-AstraZeneca was cleared for emergency use along with Bharat Biotech's indigenous "Covaxin" earlier this month.