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First batch of Covid vaccine reaches Gujarat from Serum institute

Deputy Chief Minister and state health minister Nitin Patel flagged off a flower-bedecked vehicle that will transport the vaccine doses, procured by the Union health ministry from SII, to Ahmedabad, Gandhinagar and Bhavnagar sectors.

By: Express News Service | Ahmedabad |
January 12, 2021 6:23:09 pm
Gujarat Covid vaccine, COVID-19, SIIPeople welcome a truck carrying Covid-19 vaccine in Ahmedabad. (Express Photo by Nirmal Harindran)

The first consignment of 2.76 lakh Covishield vaccines reached the state by air at Ahmedabad’s Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport from the Pune-based Serum Institute of India Tuesday.

Deputy Chief Minister and state health minister Nitin Patel flagged off a flower-bedecked vehicle that will transport the vaccine doses, procured by the Union health ministry from SII, to Ahmedabad, Gandhinagar and Bhavnagar sectors.

“A total of 1.20 lakh doses will be provided to Ahmedabad Regional Deputy Director’s (RDD) office housed at a cold storage facility at Ahmedabad Civil Hospital. Another 96,000 doses will be kept at Gandhinagar RDD office zone, and 60,000 doses will be sent to Bhavnagar zone within the next two days. This consignment will cater to Ahmedabad city and rural, Gandhinagar city and rural, and Bhavnagar zone,” Patel told reporters.

Additionally, a second consignment, containing 93,500 vaccine doses, from Pune will reach Surat on special cold-chain vehicles by road Wednesday, he said. Similarly, a consignment of 94,500 vaccine doses will reach Vadodara, and another 77,000 doses will reach Rajkot on the day.

Patel said the BJP has decided that until the first two phases of inoculation for healthcare workers and “frontline Covid-19 warriors” were completed, “no politician, political leader, or minister will be administered the vaccine” in the state.

“The reason for this decision is to send a message to our citizens that this (vaccine) is for the citizens, the people, the health workers, and the police personnel as their safety is our country’s priority. (They will be) followed by those aged above 50 years and then those below 50 years of age with serious comorbidities… Ensuring their safety is a moral responsibility of governments’ political leaders, ministers, chief ministers etc. At a wedding, only after guests are fed, do the hosts eat,” Patel said.

The decision, he added, was taken Monday and notified at the party level by Chief Minister Vijay Rupani and state BJP chief CR Paatil. Ahead of the Coronavirus vaccine rollout, Prime Minister Narendra Modi at a meeting with state chief ministers Monday had also underscored that politicians should not jump the queue to take the vaccine but wait for their turn.

In Gujarat, 4.33 lakh will be vaccinated in the first priority group, which includes healthcare workers — from doctors, nurses, and paramedical staffers — from both government and private sectors. Six lakh frontline workers would get the dose in the second phase.

Vaccine registration has been coordinated via an online registration software Co-WIN. In areas with poor or zero network connectivity, Patel said, the central government has decided to keep the provision of offline registrations.

Besides Patel, state home minister Pradeepsinh Jadeja and senior officials from the health department, including principal health secretary Jayanti Ravi, were present at the airport when the vaccine consignment, weighing approximately 700 kilograms, arrived via an Air India flight from Pune airport.

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