Thiruvananthapuram: The first consignment of 4.33 lakh doses of Covishield vaccine to combat COVID-19 reached Kerala on Wednesday from the Pune- based Serum Institute of India.
While the first flight carrying the vaccine reached Kochi's Nedumbassery airport at 10.15 am, another set of vaccines reached Thiruvananthapuram later this evening. Kerala was the first state in the country to report the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.
The State will get 4,33,500 doses of Covishield vaccine, which has been developed by the UK-based Oxford University and pharma major AstraZeneca and is being manufactured by the Pune-based Serum Institute of India. The vaccination drive will begin on Saturday.
The Go Air flight from Pune with the vaccine doses for Kochi and Kozhikode arrived at the Cochin International Airport at 10:45am.
The vaccine doses were transferred to the Regional Vaccine Store at the General Hospital, Ernakulam. The boxes earmarked for Kozhikode region will be transported via road in special refrigerated vans. Transfer of vaccine boxes from the plane to vans was completed in 10 minutes.
Thiruvananthapuram will get 1,34,000 doses of the vaccine, while Ernakulam will get 1,80,000 doses and Kozhikode 1,19,500 doses. From the vaccine doses arriving at Kozhikode, 1,100 doses will be sent to Mahe, which is a part of Puducherry.
Vaccine will reach districts on Thursday
The COVID vaccine will be kept at the respective regional vaccine stores at Kochi, Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhikode on Wednesday. From there, it will be distributed to the district stores on Thursday. The vaccine should be stored at 2-8 degree C even during its conveyance from the production centre. Therefore, it can only be transported only in insulated vehicles.
The vaccine will be delivered from Thiruvananthapuram hub to Kollam, Alappuzha, Pathanamthitta and Thiruvananthapuram districts; from Ernakulam hub to Idukki, Kottayam, Ernakulam, Thrissur and Palakkad districts; and from Kozhikode hub to Kannur, Kasaragod, Malappuram, Wayanad, Kozhikode districts and Mahe.
Second dose of vaccination 4 weeks later
The central government has said that the vaccine doses that have ordered will reach all the states in the country by Thursday.
While the drugs controller has suggested that the second dose of Covishield can be provided between four and six weeks after the first, the ministry of health has decided not to delay the second dose beyond four weeks.
So far, 3,62,870 people have registered themselves for the vaccination, which will commence from January 16.