New Delhi: Kerala is set to receive 4.35 lakh doses of COVID-19 vaccine, Covishield, in the first batch as the country is set to commence the mass innoculation drive against the pandemic in a few days. The consignment marked for the state would be delivered at the Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi and Kozhikode airports.
The first consignment of Covishield earmarked for 16 centres in the country has been dispatched from Pune on Tuesday. Temperature-controlled trucks were seen rolling out of the Serum Institute of India (SII) campus as they proceeded to the city airport for shipping to destinations across India. Prior to the despatch, a special puja (worship ritual) was held at the SII.
The Centre has informed the Kerala government that the vaccine that would be supplied for use in Kerala would be Covishield which has been developed by the Oxford University and manufactured at the Pune plant of SII, the world's largest vaccine manufacturer.
Public reps not in priority list
The Centre would bear the expenses of the vaccination of three crore people in the country in the first phase, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had informed the chief ministers during a video meeting the other day. Healthworkers and frontline workers are set to get the jab at first.
However, the demand from a few states to include people's representatives in the priority list has not been permitted. People's representatives are not part of this, the PM said, quelling rumours that the prime minister would receive the first vaccine.
"The country is going to witness the largest vaccination drive in the world. Only 2.5 crore people across 50-odd countries were vaccinated in one month. India aims to vaccinate 30 crore people within months," the PM explained.
Rs 200 for one dose
The central government has already placed an order for 1.1 crore doses of the Covishield vaccine with the SII. As per the deal each dose would cost Rs 200.
When the vaccine enters the market in April, the rate would be Rs 1,000, the SII authorities had hinted recently.