Amid many states and Union Territories reporting a shortage of Covid-19 vaccines, a consignment of three million doses of Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine landed in Hyderabad’s Rajiv Gandhi International Airport on Tuesday.
This development comes in the backdrop of the Centre announcing that about 12 crore vaccines will be available in the country in June.
"For the month of June, 6.09 crore (6,09,60,000) doses of COVID vaccines will be supplied to the States and UTs for vaccination of priority group of Health Care Workers (HCWs), Front-Line Workers (FLWs) and person aged 45 years + and above as free supply from Government of India," the Union health ministry said.
"In addition, more than 5.86 crore (5,86,10,000) doses will be available for direct procurement by the state/UTs and Private Hospitals. Therefore, in June 2021 close to 12 crore (11,95,70,000) doses will be available for the national COVID vaccination programme," it said.
At the moment, three Covid-19 vaccines have received emergency use approval in India. They are Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin, Serum Institute of India’s Covishield and Russia’s Sputnik V vaccines.
Earlier today, a GMR Hyderabad Air Cargo (GHAC) press release said that a vaccine consignment arrived from Russia on a specially chartered freighter RU-9450 which touched down at Hyderabad Airport at 03.43 hours.
"While GHAC has already handled several import shipments of vaccine prior to this, todays shipment of 56.6 tonnes of vaccines is the single largest import shipment of Covid-19 vaccines handled in India till date.This shipment completed all processes and was dispatched in less than 90 minutes," it said.
The Sputnik V vaccine requires specialised handling and storage, required to be kept at a temperature of -20 C.
GHAC has been working closely with the experts from the customers supply chain team, officials from customs department and other relevant stakeholders over an extended period of time to ensure that the necessary infrastructure and handling processes are fully in place at the Air Cargo Terminal for smooth handling of the vaccine shipments, it said.
Dr Reddy's Laboratories is in a pact with Russian Direct Investment Fund to sell the first 125 million people doses (250 million vials) of Sputnik V in India.
Dr Reddy's Laboratories has received approval from the Indian drug regulator for restricted emergency use of Sputnik V.
Dr Reddys which had earlier received over two lakh vaccines from RDIF, recently soft-launched Sputnik V and tied up with Apollo Hospitals for piloting the vaccine.
(With PTI inputs)