India's biggest vaccination programme started with Serum Institute of India (SII) dispatching its vaccine, 'Covishield', from Pune to other states of the country. Four major regional depots, Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata and Hyderabad were the first one to receive Covishield jabs on Tuesday.
Union civil aviation minister Hardeep Singh Puri, in a tweet, had said: "Civil aviation sector launches yet another momentous mission. Vaccine movement starts. First two flights operated by SpiceJet and GoAir India from Pune to Delhi and Chennai have taken off."
Civil aviation sector launches yet another momentous mission.— Hardeep Singh Puri (@HardeepSPuri) January 12, 2021
Vaccine movement starts.
First two flights operated by @flyspicejet & @goairlinesindia from Pune to Delhi & Chennai have taken off. pic.twitter.com/uo11S4OvqK
He said Air India, SpiceJet, GoAir and IndiGo were scheduled to operate nine flights from Pune with 56.5 lakh doses to Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata, Guwahati, Shillong, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Vijayawada, Bhubaneswar, Patna, Bengaluru, Lucknow & Chandigarh on Tuesday.
Over 56 lakh of the total 1.1 crore Covishield doses have been dispatched to as many as 13 cities across India amid tight security, India Today reports.
The exercise of dispatching vaccines will continue till Wednesday, which will cover cities like Patna, Chandigarh, Lucknow, Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Bhubaneswar, Vijayawada and Guwahati.
States that'll receive the first batch of SII's vaccines are UP, Delhi, Punjab, Himachal, Haryana, J&K, Uttarakhand, Odisha, Jharkhand, MP, Chattisgarh, Assam, West Bengal, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Meghalaya, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, and Kerala.
In total, the Centre will procure 1.65 crore vaccines initially -- 1.1 crore from SII and 55 lakh from Bharat Biotech. While Covishield will cost Rs 200 per jab for the government, Covaxin has been priced around Rs 206 per dose, as per health secretary Rajesh Bhushan.
Bharat Biotech will also start dispatching Covaxin from the Hyderabad airport on Wednesday morning. It'll initially cover around 11 states, including Delhi, Bengaluru, Lucknow, Chennai and Jaipur.
Airlines have also hailed the vaccination programme, calling it historic. IndiGo said they have already transported 900 kg vaccines to Chandigarh and Lucknow, and that the next batch will be distributed to Maharashtra. SpiceJet CMD Ajay Singh said the airline delivered around 40 lakh vaccines of the 50 lakh dispatched on Tuesday.