Today, Hyderabad-base Bharat Biotech dispatched the first consignment of its COVID-19 vaccine Covaxin. At 6.40 am, the consignment of Covaxin was carried by Air India from Hyderabad to Delhi. The first consignment had 3 boxes of the Covaxin vaccines which were around 80.5 kg in weight.  

On 12th January, the Serum Institute of India sent its first consignment of 5 million Covishield vaccine doses from Pune to various parts of the country including Delhi, Chandigarh, Kolkata, Chennai, and Lucknow.  

Until now, only two COVID-19 vaccines from Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech have received emergency approval from the government. These two vaccines -Covaxin and Covishield will be used to immunise people in the first phase of the COVID-19 vaccination, which is scheduled to begin on 16th January. More than 40 locations will receive the COVID-19 vaccines on the first day of the rollout. 

During the first phase of the COVID-19 vaccination drive, about 3 crore people including healthcare workers, frontline workers, sanitation workers, defence forces, and police will receive the vaccines. For now, the central government will fund the vaccination cost of 3 crore people.  

Serum Institute of India will provide 1.1 crore doses of Covishield to the government at ₹200 per dose. Bharat Biotech will provide 55 lakh doses of Covaxin at ₹206 per dose. 

The health ministry has also urged people to take the complete doses of the COVID-19 vaccines to protect themselves from the virus and reduce the chances of its spread to family members and co-workers. 

Are COVID-19 vaccines safe?  

Health experts said that Covaxin and Covishield vaccines are safe and effective. These vaccines are tested on thousands of people before approval. Clinical data shows that the vaccines are immunogenic and have negligible side-effects.  

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