With the COVID-19 vaccination drive in India set to rollout on January 16, the transportation of Covishield vaccine from the Serum Institute of India's facility in Pune in Maharashtra is likely to start from the evening of January 11 or on January 12, sources involved in planning the logistics said on Sunday.
The vaccine-laden trucks will move out from Manjari location of the SII with elaborate police security. The Central government on Saturday said India will launch its COVID-19 vaccination drive from January 16, with priority to be given to nearly three crore health care and frontline workers.
"With all likelihood, there are possibilities that the transportation of the Covishield vaccine will start from Monday. Tentatively, there are plans to start the movement of the vaccine on Monday, but if that does not happen by some reasons, it will definitely start from Tuesday morning," said the sources involved in the planning for security and logistics for transportation of the vaccine.
Covishield is co-developed by the University of Oxford and British-Swedish company AstraZeneca in collaboration with the SII. The Maharashtra government has already decided to provide police security to the trucks carrying the vaccine up to airports and to borders of the state.
"A cold chain logistics service provider - Kool-Ex Cold Chain Ltd is the lead vendor for the movement of the vaccine from the SII factory to 48 primary government locations (depots) in the first leg," company's co-founder Rahul Agarwal had said. He said about 300 GPS-fitted trucks will be used and while 500 trucks will be roped in if needed.
On Saturday, Pune police commissioner Amitabh Gupta held a meeting with representatives of the Kool-ex to streamline the convoy system for the trucks carrying the vaccine. "We had a meeting with them. We told them that since trucks would start their journey from Pune, a security cover would be given for the initial period of 10 to 15 days," he had said.
A SII source had said that certain processes are being finalised about transportation of the vaccine.