The first shipment of coronavirus vaccine will likely to be released today. The Union health ministry on Thursday informed the plan for a mega vaccination drive will be drawn soon. Health minister Harsh Vardhan listed out major destination points and states where two COVID-19 vaccines will be dispatched "shortly".
A government official said the final due diligence and certification formalities for placing bulk purchase orders were on and that the supply order was likely to be placed by Friday as the initial 10-crore vaccines would be funded through PM-CARES, Times of India reported.
India's drugs regulator on January 3 approved Oxford-AstraZeneca's 'Covishield', manufactured by SII, and Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech's Covaxin for restricted emergency use.
As soon as the supply order takes place, the vaccine manufacturer will air transfer the doses to four main depots in Karnal, Kolkata, Chennai, and Pune.
From there, the vaccine will be taken to 37 states and union territories and then to districts, primary health centres and sub-centres, and other designated sites.
The Airport Authority of India said it is fully geared up to deploy its resources to facilitate transportation of the COVID-19 vaccine. Consignments of 'Covishield' vaccine, manufactured at Serum Institute, are scheduled to be dispatched to various locations from the Pune airport.
The health ministry said the vaccine will be supplied to the identified consignee points of 19 states and union territories -- Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Gujarat, Haryana, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Punjab, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal.
The vaccine for the remaining 18 states and union territories -- Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Arunachal Pradesh, Chandigarh, Daman and Nagar Haveli, Daman and Diu, Goa, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Ladakh, Lakshadweep, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Puducherry, Sikkim, Tripura and Uttarakhand -- will be supplied to their respective government medical store depots (GMSDs).