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Bharat Biotech dispatches first consignment of Covaxin; Kolkata receives the highest doses of Covishield

Covaxin is being indigenously developed by Bharat Biotechin collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) - National Institute of Virology (NIV).

January 12, 2021 / 10:22 PM IST
Covaxin, Bharat Biotech

Covaxin, Bharat Biotech

Bharat Biotech, which has received Emergency Use Authorisation approval from the Drug Controller General of India for its COVID-19 vaccine Covaxin, dispatched it from the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport on January 12, in the evening, a senior official of the Airports cargo division told news agency PTI.

"Today we have received the first consignment of vaccines from Serum Institute at Hyderabad airport. We received 970 kgs of consignment (from Serum Institute)."

"Today in the evening the first consignment is going out of Hyderabad.... (it is from ) Bharat Biotech. It is going to 11 destinations," the official told reporters after receiving the first consignment of Covishield vaccines.

Covishield is developed by Oxford University and British-Swedish company AstraZeneca and manufactured by the Serum Institute of India (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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In a series of tweets, Union minister Hardeep Singh Puri said: Air India, SpiceJet, GoAir and IndiGo will operate nine flights from Pune with 56.5 lakh doses to Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata, Guwahati, Shillong, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Vijayawada, Bhubaneswar, Patna, Bengaluru, Lucknow and Chandigarh.

The first consignment of 54,900 vials of Covishield vaccines landed at the Jay Prakash Narayan International Airport on early in the day at 1:30 pm via a SpiceJet flight (SG757) carrying the vaccines from the Serum Institute of India facility in Pune, reported PTI.

The first flight carrying Covishield vaccine, has already reached Delhi, Gujarat, Chennai and Kolkata.

Kolkata received the highest doses of Covishield followed by Chennai.

Meanwhile, Ahmadabad received 7,08,000 and 2,76,000 doses of Oxford vaccine via GoAir and Air India flights respectively, reported Times Now.

The consignment for Mumbai will be going by road, according to PTI. Trucks belonging to Kool-ex Cold Chain Ltd are being used to ferry the vaccine stocks. The trucks carried 478 boxes of the vaccines and each box weighs 32 kg.

Covaxin is being indigenously developed by Bharat Biotechin collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) - National Institute of Virology (NIV).

The indigenous, inactivated vaccine is developed and manufactured in Bharat Biotech's BSL-3 (Bio-Safety Level 3) bio-containment facility, the firm had earlier said.

The mega-vaccination drive will commence from January 16 where priority will be given to the healthcare workers and the frontline workers.

On January 11, Prime Minister Narendra Modi also chaired a high-level meeting with chief ministers and administrators of all states and union territories to review the status and preparedness for COVID-19 vaccination.

Follow our full coverage of the coronavirus pandemic here.
first published: Jan 12, 2021 04:30 pm

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