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    Air India, Vistara begin transport of Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin

    Synopsis

    This is the second day of vaccine transport with airlines starting transporting Covid-19 vaccines across the country from Serum Institute, Pune, on Tuesday ahead of the inoculation drive scheduled to start on January 16.

    Covaxin being loaded on a Vistara flight at Hyderabad airport on Wednesday morning.
    After ferrying 5 million vials of Covishield vaccine on Tuesday, airlines like Air India and Vistara started transporting indigenously-developed Covaxin from Hyderabad today.

    This is the second day of vaccine transport with airlines starting transporting Covid-19 vaccines across the country from Serum Institute, Pune, on Tuesday ahead of the inoculation drive scheduled to start on January 16.

    While Air India was also involved in the transport of vaccines yesterday, Vistara joined today by transporting Covaxin vials.

    Two vaccines – Covishield, developed by the Oxford of University and AstraZeneca and manufactured by Serum Institute, and Bharat Biotech’s indigenously developed Covaxin – will be used to inoculate frontline workers in the first phase.

    As many as 10 million healthcare workers, 20 million frontline and essential workers and 270 million elderly people, above the age of 50 years with comorbidities, are to be vaccinated in the first phase.

    Commercial airlines played a key role in transporting the vaccines across the country, where they have been stored for the vaccination process that is set to begin on January 16, 2021.

    Airlines transport about 5 million vaccines on Tuesday and a large percentage of it was transported by SpiceJet, the airline claimed. In total, 14 flights from Pune will carry vaccine consignments on Tuesday.

    As the transport process began, the aviation regulator last week came out with a standard operating procedure that requires the vaccine vials to be packed in dry ice for air transportation.

    “All scheduled operators who have been currently authorised to carry dangerous goods may carry Covid-19 vaccines packed in dry ice, meeting the regulatory requirements,” the Directorate General of Civil Aviation said in a circular on January 8.

    As the government has decided to buy 70 million vaccines in the initial phases, airlines are going to play a key role in the transport of vaccines not just within India but also from bringing it from abroad.
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