11 lakh Covishield doses is likely to reach Kolkata, beginning from Tuesday, for the first phase of COVID-19 vaccination drive in West Bengal and in the northeastern states.

The Oxford University and AstraZeneca-developed vaccine was the first to be approved by the Government of India (GoI).

It had earlier announced that on priority basis three crore frontline workers will be immunised in the first round of vaccination for novel coronavirus, starting from January 16.

The primary batch of the Covishield doses started coming out of its local manufacturers Serum Institute of India’s plant in Pune early on Tuesday morning amid tight security.

The locations where these Covishield vaccines would be taken from Pune include Delhi, Ahmedabad, Kolkata, Chennai, Bengaluru, Karnal, Hyderabad, Vijayawada, Guwahati, Lucknow, Chandigarh and Bhubaneswar.

Once the designated consignments reach Kolkata, the ones set to visit northeastern states like Assam, Manipur and Nagaland will be taken to the central government’s ‘Government Medical Stores Depot’ at Hastings.

The others will be shifted to Bagbazar’s ‘Central Medical Stores’. Subsequently, the vaccine doses will be transferred to 941 cold chains spanning across West Bengal.

The state government has reportedly made required arrangements to ensure smooth transportation of the vaccines to their designated locations.

A total of 47 vaccine vans will ply across West Bengal in the coming days, reported Bengali daily Anandabazar Patrika. Special attention has been paid by the traffic department to avoid hiccups for the vans on road.

The Central government on Monday placed firm orders in advanced commitments for over six crore doses of vaccines from Serum Institute and Bharat Biotech for inoculating three crore healthcare and frontline workers in the first phase of the nationwide vaccination drive beginning January 16.

Interacting with state Chief Ministers on Monday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi underscored the enormity of what he called as the world’s biggest vaccination exercise, saying over 30 crore citizens will get the jabs in the next few months in India against only 2.5 crore people vaccinated so far in over 50 countries in around a month.

With PTI inputs