Covaxin shipped to 11 cities in India, says Bharat Biotech
Bharat Biotech said on Wednesday that it has successfully air-shipped its COVID-19 vaccine Covaxin to 11 cities in India in the early hours and that it has donated 16.5 lakh doses to the centre.
The company also expressed its deepest gratitude to the nation, all clinical trial volunteers, and its partners for making this a successful and milestone public-private partnership for the development of India's first COVID19- vaccine, a press release said.
After having received the government purchase order for 55 lakh doses, Bharat Biotech shipped the first batch of vaccines (each vial containing 20 doses) to Gannavaram (Vijayawada), Guwahati, Patna, Delhi, Kurukshetra, Bengaluru, Pune, Bhubaneswar, Jaipur, Chennai, and Lucknow.
The Assam health department has kept the vaccines at a state-run store and will start distribution of it soon, a state government official said.
Assam will launch the vaccination programme on January 16 with priority to be given to healthcare and frontline workers, he said.
"We will roll out the drive from 74 sites across Assam, and 1,85,235 state health workers and 5,524 personnel from central medical agencies have registered their names for the programme," the official added.
Image source: Bharat Biotech Twitter page
Vaccines have already reached Cuttack, Puri, and Nayagarh districts, and special vehicles with police escorts have been lined up for transportation of the vials to all the 162 vaccination centres.
Expressing his happiness over the arrival of COVID vaccines, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said in a statement,
"It is a moment of great joy. Odisha is fully prepared with an elaborate system for a seamless vaccination programme to save precious lives."
Maharashtra government has so far received 9.83 lakh doses of COVID-19 vaccines out of the total requirement of 17.5 lakh for inoculation in the first phase, state Health Minister Rajesh Tope said on Wednesday.
"We have to give the doses twice to a person in a gap of four weeks, hence 55 percent of the around eight lakh registered health workers will undergo vaccination as of now," he said.
Covaxin is a highly purified and inactivated two-dose SARS-CoV-2 vaccine, manufactured in a Vero cell manufacturing platform with an excellent safety track record of more than 300 million doses, the release said.
It is India's totally indigenous COVID-19 vaccine, developed in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research and National Institute of Virology.
The inactivated vaccine is developed and manufactured in Bharat Biotech's BSL-3 (Bio-Safety Level 3) biocontainment facility, one of its kind in the world.
(Disclaimer: Additional background information has been added to this PTI copy for context)