Supplies of Covishield, Serum Institute of India’s Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine against Coronavirus disease (Covid-19), have begun moving from the company’s manufacturing facility in Pune early today.
The supplies will further be distributed to close to 60 cold storage points spread across the country for the nationwide vaccination drive on January 16 .
The first step after a purchase is made is for the manufacturer to deliver supplies by air to the primary vaccine stores run by the Union health ministry, which are called Government Medical Stores Depot (GMSD).
There are four such large depots functional at the moment in the country , one each in Karnal, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata. A manufacturer will deliver to one of these depots or sometimes even multiple depots, depending on the agreement signed with the government.
From these main depots, the supplies will be diverted to two points in refrigerated or insulated vans. One of the deployment points is the state vaccine stores that are 56 in number spread across various states.
From there on, it is the responsibility either of the state governments or Union Territory administration to deploy the stock further as per the state requirement. From the state stores, the supplies will be sent in refrigerated and insulated vans to the district vaccine stores, which is also a temperature control facility,
The Government of India formally sent a purchase order to the company on Monday evening for 11 million doses of Covishield, at a special price of Rs200 per dose for the first million doses.
SII is the local manufacturers for Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, and has also conducted clinical trials of the vaccine in India. Currently, phase 3 trials are going on in the country.
Initially, the deal is for procuring 11 million doses that is expected to cover the first phase of the vaccination drive involving 10 million healthcare workers across the country. There is also the plan to procure about 45 million more doses by April, 2021.
The government is keeping a margin of about 10%, to factor in wastage possibility of the vaccine, especially at the vaccination sites.