Vaccine movement has started, he said on Twitter, adding that first two flights operated by ''SpiceJet and GoAir from Pune to Delhi and Chennai have taken off''.
''Today @airindiain @flyspicejet @goairlinesindia & @IndiGo6E will operate 9 flights from Pune with 56.5 lakh doses to Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata, Guwahati, Shillong, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Vijayawada, Bhubaneswar, Patna, Bengaluru, Lucknow & Chandigarh,'' he said on Twitter.
A SpiceJet flight carrying the the first consignment of Covishield vaccines left for the national capital around 8 am, three hours after three trucks with the maiden consignment of the vaccines rolled out of the Serum Institute of India facility, 15 km from the airport.
''Ready get set go! Stand by India! The vaccine to kill the disease is being loaded into the aircraft for distribution all over the country now,'' Pune airport tweeted.
Three temperature-controlled trucks rolled out of the Serum Institute gates shortly before 5 am and left for Pun airport, from where the vaccines will be flown across India.
The trucks carried 478 boxes of the vaccines, each box weighing 32 kg, a source involved in the vaccine transport arrangements told PTI.
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.
Interacting with state chief ministers on Monday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi underscored the enormity of what he called as the world's biggest vaccination exercise, saying over 30 crore citizens will get the jabs in the next few months in India against only 2.5 crore people vaccinated so far in over 50 countries in around a month.