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India to mark its vaccine drone delivery soon

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India to mark its vaccine drone delivery soon

The Civil Aviation Ministry has permitted the Telangana government to use drones for experimental delivery of vaccines using beyond the visual line of sight drone flights.

India has been hit hard by a second wave of the novel coronavirus infection, and hospitals in several states are reeling under a severe shortage of vaccines, oxygen, drugs, medical equipment, and beds.

On April 30, the ministry had permitted the Telangana government to use drones for experimental
delivery of COVID-19 vaccines within the visual line of sight.

In a statement, the ministry said it has granted a conditional exemption to the Telangana government from the Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) Rules, 2021, for “conducting experimental delivery of vaccines” using drones. 

The trials may commence by the end of May, it added.

On April 22, the ministry had permitted the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) to conduct a feasibility study on using drones to deliver the COVID-19 vaccine.

The official statement noted that the development is aimed at achieving dual objectives of faster vaccine delivery and improved healthcare access by ensuring primary healthcare delivery at the citizen’s doorstep.

Aerial delivery will also help in limiting human exposure to COVID-19 prone areas and will ensure access to healthcare to the last mile, especially in remote areas.

However, one of the conditions for the trial remains the maximum permitted height for drone operations to be at 400 feet Above Ground Level (AGL).

The state government also needs to establish a Single Point Coordinator (SPC) at Shamshabad ATC to ensure coordination with ATC during the flight trials.

Blue Dart Med-Express Drone flights will deploy an immersive delivery model to optimise the current healthcare logistics within Telangana.

Also Read: How to succeed in your startup during Covid-19?

Blue Dart, a leading express logistics service provider, on Thursday said it formed Blue Dart Med-Express Consortium with a mission of revolutionising the delivery of vaccines and emergency medical supplies to the remotest parts of India using drones.

Blue Dart Med-Express Drone flights will deploy an immersive delivery model to optimise the current healthcare logistics within Telangana.

The model will enable deliveries from district medical stores and blood banks to Primary Health Centres (PHCs), Community Health Centres (CHCs), Blood Storage Units & further from PHCs/CHCs to Central Diagnostic laboratories, it said.

Balfour Manuel, Managing Director, Blue Dart said, “As an organization Blue Dart has always been surrounded with the technology of the future.

It is this ability that has helped us to not only withstand the pandemic but thrive with growth.

While we reach out to over 35,000 locations across the country, the current situation calls for a much deeper penetration of vaccines.

” Jayesh Ranjan, Principal Secretary, IT and Industries, said “Telangana is one of the most proactive states looking to adopt emerging technologies, and the ‘Medicine from the Sky project using drones is in line with the same principles.

This project is one of the first such programs in the country…The vision is to ensure healthcare equity for rural areas.”

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