Gujarat has received 2.76 lakh Covishield vaccine doses: Govt

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(Eds: Adding details) Ahmedabad, Jan 12 (PTI) The Gujarat government on Tuesday received 2.76 lakh doses of Covishield vaccine from the Pune-based Serum Institute of India (SII), which has started dispatching the vaccine to various cities for the January 16 nationwide rollout of the inoculation drive.

These doses were transported to designated places by the police by creating green corridors, Gujarat Minister of State for Home Pradeepsinh Jadeja said in a statement.

Earlier in the day, the first batch of the vaccine doses reached the Ahmedabad airport around noon.

Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel, who visited the airport along with Jadeja, described the arrival of the vaccines as the 'much-awaited moment'.

'We have received 2.76 lakh doses of the coronavirus vaccine today. People have been eagerly awaiting the arrival of this vaccine and it has finally arrived,' Patel told reporters at the airport.

He said these doses are meant for Ahmedabad, Gandhinagar and Bhavnagar sectors.

Additionally, 93,500 doses of the vaccine will reach Surat from Pune by road on Wednesday, while 94,5000 doses will reach Vadodara and 77,000 doses will reach Rajkot, the deputy CM said.

Officials said the vaccines will be transported to various destinations with elaborate security arrangements.

Security will be beefed up at places where the vaccines will be stored, they added.

Meanwhile, Jadeja said that strict vigil will be maintained at the vaccine storage centres, and that the government will ensure that the identified people only receive the jabs.

On early Tuesday, the first consignment of the doses of Covishield vaccine rolled out of the Serum Institute of India facility in Pune for various locations, setting in process a massive pan-India inoculation drive against COVID-19 that begins on January 16.

Patel said the Gujarat government will administer the vaccine to 4.33 lakh healthcare workers in the first phase.

'In the second phase, the state government is planning to vaccinate over 6 lakh frontline workers comprising policemen, and workers of revenue and sanitation departments,' he said.

Patel said 11 lakh healthcare and frontline workers have already been identified by the state government for inoculation.

'More doses of vaccine will arrive as the vaccination programme starts,' he said.

Patel reiterated that no public representative, including MPs and MLAs, of the ruling BJP will receive the vaccine during the first phase, as the shots are meant for high risk groups.

He said cold chains have been set up for storing these vaccines, which will be administered at over 20,000 booths.