The Bharat Biotech International Limited (BBIL) has announced the successful air-shipment of its COVID-19 vaccine 'Covaxin' to 11 cities in the country in the early hours of Wednesday.
The firm said that it has donated 16.5 lakh doses to the Centre, according to an official statement by the company.
After having received the government purchase order for 55 lakh doses, Bharat Biotech shipped the first batch of vaccines (each vial containing 20 doses) to Ganavaram, Guwahati, Patna, Delhi, Kurukshetra, Bangalore, Pune, Bhubaneswar, Jaipur, Chennai and Lucknow, it stated.
While some shipments have arrived in the respective cities, others will be delivered later this evening.
This vaccine by Bharat Biotech is India's totally indigenous COVID-19 vaccine developed in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) - National Institute of Virology (NIV). This indigenous, inactivated vaccine is developed and manufactured in Bharat Biotech's BSL-3 (Bio-Safety Level 3) biocontainment facility, one of its kind in the world.
On January 12, Covishield and Covaxin, the two COVID-19 vaccines which have received Emergency Use Authorisation (EAU) have been tested on thousands of people and side-effects are negligible, Dr VK Paul, Member (Health), NITI Aayog, said and noted that the two "are safest of the vaccines".
The first phase of the COVID-19 vaccination drive is scheduled to start from January 16.
Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said that the central government is having close collaboration with states and union territories for vaccine roll-out. "All preparations are on track for vaccine roll-out from January 16," he said.