Four days ahead of the nationwide inoculation drive launch, the Covishield vaccines started to head towards state capitals from the Serum Institute in Pune.
Health Secretary J Radhakrishnan said that 5.56 lakh vaccines have been dispatched from Pune and the state is prepared to start the vaccination programme against COVID-19. A total of 20,000 Covaxin doses are yet to be received.
The vaccine will be distributed to ten regional centers and 51 walk-in coolers at district levels on Tuesday. The vaccines will be checked and then dispatched in cold boxes to the respective vaccination centres.
Meanwhile, the Centre has committed to buying about 4.5 crore more doses of the Covishield vaccine from the Serum Institute at a price of Rs 200 per shot plus applicable taxes by April.
The Central government on Monday placed firm orders in advanced commitments for over six crore doses of vaccines from Serum Institute and Bharat Biotech for inoculating three crore healthcare and frontline workers in the first phase of the nationwide vaccination drive beginning January 16.
Accordingly, three temperature-controlled trucks rolled out of the Serum Institute gates shortly before 5 am and left for Pune airport, from where the vaccines were flown across India.
Earlier yesterday, Radhakrishnan said six lakh healthcare workers will be vaccinated in the first phase of the drive. The initial shots will be given to frontline workers (including doctors, nurses and other paramedical staff). The entire first phase of vaccination is likely to be completed in 2-3 weeks time.
Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami is expected to launch the COVID-19 vaccine drive in Tamil Nadu from Madurai on January 16.