Transportation of Covishield vaccine delayed for 48 hours

Wednesday February 17, 2021 at 1:10 pm

Pune: There has been a delay in the transportation of the Covishield vaccine doses for another 48 hours, which is expected to take place by Monday. Serum Institute of India, the vaccine manufacturer has stated that the delay in transportation is basically due to the price negotiation with the Union government.

Transportation which was scheduled to take place on Thursday was later shifted to Friday.

“No movement happened today (Friday) too. As said earlier, we are prepared and ready at our end. We can easily handle (the transportation) and are at present handling more than 150 tonnes of cargo in a day”, reported Kuldeep Singh, director at Pune airport. Further, it has been stated by an airline representative, “Transportation has been postponed until Monday. We don’t have any more information on this right now”.

Serum waiting for government’s nod over vaccine transportation

In the meantime, Adar Poonawalla, the chief executive of SII has reported to TOI, “There is absolutely no price negotiation at all. The rollout will happen in a few days. There are due processes to be followed before we transport the vaccine doses”.

It has further been announced by Poonawalla that the first 100 million doses of Covishield vaccine shall be provided at a special price of Rs 200 per dose to the government. In the local market it shall be priced at Rs 1,000 each dose.

The Manjari plant of SII in Pune has set ready 50 million doses. Before it can undergo the massive transportation exercise, the doses are waiting for the government to put forward a formal order. According to a statement made by Poonawalla the company is manufacturing 50 – 60 million doses of the vaccine each month.

The transportation of vaccines in cold packs are made possible by a fleet of refrigerated trucks from the plant in Manjari to Pune and also to nearby destinations, including Mumbai.

The experts and airport officials stated that at Pune airport, authorities are taking into consideration the feasible options including change of domestic flights to cargo flights with due permission from the DGCA, opening of special slot for the rapid transportation of the vaccine and also transporting the vaccine on road.

According to an official, all options are being taken into consideration that includes the creation of special slot for destinations that do not have scheduled flights from Pune and keeping the runway open for flights at night. At the present time, due to the re-carpeting work being done in the runway, Pune airport remains shut down for flights after 8 pm. In an official statement by IndiGo, its been stated, “In line with our business model and cost leadership strategy, we are happy to evaluate the shipment of Covid-19 vaccines onboard our aircraft and will promise to contribute to the best of our abilities”.