The first consignment of COVID-19 vaccine arrived at the Cochin International Airport, Nedumbassery about 10.45 a.m. on Wednesday. The flight arrived about 15 minutes ahead of the schedule of 11 a.m. earlier announced by the airport authorities.
The consignment comprises vaccines for Ernakulam district and Kozhikode. The transfer of the vaccines for its onward journey was completed in 10 minutes. The consignment arrived by GoAir G8 347 flight from Mumbai, airport sources said.
The parcel of vaccine comprised 1.8 lakh doses for Ernakulam and 1.19 lakh doses for Kozhikode. Vaccine for Kozhikode will be taken by road.
Health authorities had said that the consignment meant for Ernakulam will be taken to the Regional Vaccine Store of the Ernakulam General Hospital in the city. The consignments will be sent to the neighbouring district by afternoon. The vaccine was packed in 15 temperature controlled boxes.
Staff reporter adds:
Of the 1.8 lakh doses of the Covishield vaccine, 73,000 doses will be for health workers in the district while the rest is being transported to four other districts.
Around 63,000 people, including hospital staff, ASHA and anganwadi workers, have registered for the vaccine on the CoWIN app. With the first consignment, around 32,000 people can be vaccinated in two doses, with some buffer. The second dose is to be administered 28 days after the first.
District Collector S. Suhas and Dr. M.G. Sivadas, Reproductive and Child Health Officer for the district, collected the boxes that arrived from the airport at the Regional Vaccine Store at the Ernakulam General Hospital.
The vaccine will be distributed from the regional store to the 12 vaccination centres in the district on Thursday, Dr. Sivadas said. The storage facilities used for regular immunisation will be used at these centres for the Covishield vaccine as well, he added. The vaccine is to be stored at a temperature of 2 to 8 degree celsius.
Another consignment of the vaccine is expected to arrive at the district in a week or two, he said. Ernakulam has the highest number of people registered for the vaccine in a single district in the State.
The first dose of the vaccine is likely to be administered to 1200 people on Jan 16. Each of the 12 centres, previously identified, is equipped to vaccinate 100 people on a single day. Healthworkers have already been trained in the district to administer the vaccine.
Mr. Suhas told the media here that the number of centres for vaccination will be increased in a few days, based on need and available facilities.
The doses meant for Thrissur, Palakkad, Kottayam and Idukki will be transported via road from the General Hospital with police escort on Wednesday.