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Vaccine transport from SII to start on January 11 or 12: Sources

The vaccine-laden trucks will move out from Manjari location of the SII with elaborate police security.

January 11, 2021 / 08:10 AM IST

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 bythe University of Oxford and British-Swedish company AstraZeneca in collaboration with the SII.

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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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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.
PTI
first published: Jan 11, 2021 08:03 am

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