India is preparing for 'V' day which according to the government is the world's biggest vaccination drive. The nationwide COVID vaccination drive is set to begin tomorrow (January 16). The government has announced that Prime Minister Narendra Modi will launch the COVID vaccination drive at 10.30 AM through a video-conference. Here are some behind-the-scenes from the Serum Institute of India's vaccine facility in Pune that is developing one of the approved COVID-19 vaccines 'Covishield' in the country.
How Many Vaccination Sites Are There: The COVID vaccination drive will begin with 3,006 sites that will be virtually connected during the weekend launch. The government has also said that as the programme progresses, the number of sites will be ramped up to 5,000 and more.
How Many Will Get Inoculated: According to the health ministry of India, some three lakh health workers will receive shots on the first day of one of the world's biggest vaccination drive.
Distribution Of Vaccines: Vaccines have been allotted to states based on their healthcare workers' data that have been provided by the states to the central government and has been fed on Co-WIN, an online digital platform developed by the Health Ministry to facilitate real-time information of vaccine stocks, storage temperature and tracking of vaccine recipients.
Chain of Transportation Of Vaccines: The vaccine is first rolled out from the manufacturer site and goes to the closest airport, which in Serum Institute case is Pune Airport. From Airport, the vaccine is transported to four main primary vaccine stores in India - Karnal, Chennai, Kolkata and Mumbai that essentially covers North, South, East and West for India. From these Primary Vaccine Stores, the vaccine is transported to the 37 state centres in refrigerated vans, where each state will have minimum one centre. But there are some bigger states like Uttar Pradesh that has as many as nine centres. From the state vaccine store these vaccines will be sent to the district vaccine stores. From district stores the vaccine will be sent to primary healthcare centres, where the vaccine will be distributed.
SOPs Being Followed For Transportation Of Vaccines: The vaccines are kept under armed guard. Whereas, there are different SOPs being followed in the transportation chain by the different authorities. For example, India's civil aviation regulator, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has its own set of very comprehensive guidelines on how the transportation of vaccines is going to happen onboard. As per the guidelines, the vaccines will be transported on a bed of dry ice with temperature varying from -8 degree Celsius to -70 degree Celsius. Whereas, for trucks carrying the vaccine, the SOPs include - the trucks will have the tracker or GPS system enabled, they will also have the temperature-controlled mechanism. The trucks will also ring an alarm every time the door of the truck is opened, basically to track the whole movement and transportation of the trucks carrying the vaccine.
About Serum Institute Of India: Serum Institute of India (SII) has the world's largest manufacturing facilities for vaccines by the number of doses. It produces 5,000 doses per minute of Covishield. Per day, 24 lakh doses of Covishield are being produced by the facility. Presently, SII delivers 1.6 billion doses of vaccines around the world. This will be increased by a further 1 billion doses by the end of the year. SII is in collaborations to manufacture three COVID-19 vaccine candidates other than Covishield which has been cleared. These include Novavax, Codagenix (nasal) and RBD-Spytech.