Covid vaccine export from India started with a maiden long-haul journey to Bhutan adopted by Maldives on Wednesday. The Oxford university-AstraZeneca Covishield vaccine left Serum Institute of India, Pune, on Tuesday evening by street earlier than being dispatched to Paro, Bhutan, in an Indian Air Force plane, in response to an Airports Authority of India (AAI) official. A press release from the Indian Air Force is awaited.

“First consignment takes off for Bhutan! India begins supply of Covid vaccines to its neighbouring and key partner countries,” wrote Anurag Srivastava, ministry of exterior affairs spokesperson, on Twitter as a SpiceJet plane left for Bhutan on Wednesday.

Srivastava additionally confirmed flight motion to Maldives. The vaccines have been despatched to the 2 international locations beneath the Vaccine Maitri initiative.

“India is deeply honoured to be a long-trusted partner in meeting the healthcare needs of the global community. Supplies of Covid vaccines to several countries will commence tomorrow, and more will follow in the days ahead,” PM Modi had tweeted on Tuesday evening.

The vials reached Mumbai airport on a truck, in response to Kunal Agarwal, Co-founder, Koolex Cold Chain Solution which undertook the street transport.

From Mumbai airport, the vials have been transported to Bagdogra airport, West Bengal, on a SpiceJet flight, in response to an AAI official.

Also learn | Bhutan, Maldives first to benefit from India’s ‘Vaccine Maitri’

“The vaccine boxes were supposed to go from Bagdogra to Paro, Bhutan, on a Pawan Hans helicopter which was supposed to come from Gangtok, Sikkim. However, due to heavy rainfall in Gangtok, the helicopter could not take off. Finally, with a go-ahead from MEA, the vaccines were ferried on Indian Air Force aircraft,” stated Subramani P, Director, Bagdogra International Airport.

Further shipments by India shall be made for Bangladesh, Nepal, Myanmar and Seychelles, in response to an announcement by MEA.

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