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Air India transports first consignment of Bharat Biotech vaccine Covaxin

The airline's flight carried three boxes of the Covaxin vaccine, from Hyderabad to Delhi

January 13, 2021 / 08:37 AM IST

Early morning on January 13, Air India flew the first consignment of COVID-19 vaccine from Bharat Biotech called Covaxin from Hyderabad to Delhi.

Sources said that the flight AI 559 took off at 6.40am, with the Covaxin vaccine. The consignment included three boxes, weighing 80.5 kg.

This is the second day of vaccines being flown out to different parts of the country. On Monday, January 12, Air India and its peers - SpiceJet, IndiGo and GoAir  - flew vaccines from Pune, home to Serum Institute of India, which is making the Covishield vaccine.

The two vaccines from Serum Institute and Bharat Biotech have got the emergency clearance from the Indian government. The first vaccines will be administered from January 16.

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COVID-19 Vaccine

Frequently Asked Questions

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How does a vaccine work?

A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.

How many types of vaccines are there?

There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.

What does it take to develop a vaccine of this kind?

Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.

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While Serum Institute is based in Pune, Bharat Biotech is headquartered in Hyderabad.

Five million doses of vaccines were flown to different parts of India, on January 12. Low-cost airline SpiceJet carried a total of 4 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine on the first day of the rollout. This included the country’s first consignment of the vaccine, from Pune to Delhi.

Bharat Biotech vaccines reach Delhi on January 13 Bharat Biotech vaccines reach Delhi on January 13

Over the two days, vaccines will reach over 41 locations across the country, with the first doses to be given from January 16.

To know more about how the vaccines will travel to different parts of the country: This is how COVID-19 vaccines will travel from Pune, to across India.

Executives from the industry said SpiceJet will also be flying vaccines from Hyderabad on Wednesday.

Vaccine transportation also began from the Mumbai airport from January 13. GoAir has scheduled flights carrying vaccines to Lucknow, Cochin and Chandigarh as well, besides Goa, during the day, a GoAir spokesperson told PTI.
Prince Mathews Thomas heads the corporate bureau of Moneycontrol. He has been covering the business world for 16 years, having worked in The Hindu Business Line, Forbes India, Dow Jones Newswires, The Economic Times, Business Standard and The Week. A Chevening scholar, Prince has also authored The Consolidators, a book on second generation entrepreneurs.
first published: Jan 13, 2021 08:37 am

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