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Bengaluru receives first Covishield vaccine consignment of 6.47 lakh doses

The vaccine will be first administered to the registered 6.6 lakh healthcare workers apart from other frontline workers

Karnataka on Tuesday finally received its first consignment of COVID-19 vaccine. The consignment comprising 54 boxes of 6.47 lakh doses of Covishield vaccine reached Bengaluru airport by Spicejet airlines around 11.40 a.m.

The vaccine consignment weighing 1,728 kgs was received by a team of officials comprising Bengaluru Urban District Health Officer (DHO) Srinivas Golur and other health department officials in charge of the State vaccine store in Bengaluru.

The consignment was then transported to the State vaccine store on the premises of the Health Department’s old building near Anand Rao circle in a refrigerated vaccine truck.

Health and Medical Education Minister K Sudhakar said although the State was expecting 11.34 lakh doses in the first consignment, it is getting 7.95 lakh doses as of now. “The remaining will arrive soon and we will inform the people of the State about it shortly,” he said.

He said the vaccine will be first administered to the registered 6.6 lakh healthcare workers apart from other frontline workers from police, revenue, RDPR departments and municipal corporations.

“This vaccine is completely safe and has already been approved by Drugs Controller General of India. We have been directed by the Centre to record even a single adverse event reported, if any. The stock will be safely dispatched to districts and the vaccination drive will begin from January 16,” the Minister said.

“The Union government has purchased a total of 1.1 crore doses of this vaccine at a cost of ₹210 per dose. This is the cheapest vaccine in the world. Serum Institute of India, Pune, is supplying the vaccine at a total cost of ₹231 crore,” the Minister said.

Each dose of vaccine contains 0.5 ml and each vial contains 10 doses of vaccines. Second dose should be given 28 days after the first dose and immunogenicity will develop after 45 days, he said adding that ‘Not for sale’ is being written on the vial to avoid misuse.

The entire process is being monitored by State Deputy Director (Immunisation) Rajani Nageshrao. “Of the 7.95 lakh doses, 6.47 lakh doses have reached Bengaluru. The remaining will be sent to Belagavi tomorrow,” Dr Rajani told The Hindu.

Arundathi Chandrashekar, Mission Director, National Health Mission, said the process of distributing the vaccine to districts will begin from Wednesday. “We had worked out the allocation assuming that the State will receive 11.34 lakh doses as told earlier. However, as the number of doses sent in the first consignment is lesser, we have to rework the allocation for equitable distribution to the districts. We will start distribution from Wednesday,” she added.

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