India begins delivering Covid-19 vaccines by drone

A health worker inoculates a woman during a vaccination drive against COVID-19 in New Delhi, India
India wants to vaccinate all of its adult population by the end of 2021. Credit: AP

By ITV News Journalist Sanjay Jha in India

For most of us in the UK, getting access to a Covid-19 jab means walking down the road or hopping in the car for a short drive.

But in India, the vast landscape, difficult terrain and remote location of some of its population, has presented challenges for the coronavirus vaccine drive.

Officials in the vast nation have come up with a unique solution to deliver the vaccine to such areas; by drafting in drones.

The drones can travel up to 22 miles and could bring the country closer to its target of vaccinating each of its 950 million adults by the end of this year.

The system has already been used to transport Covid vaccines from a hospital in north east state of Manipur to a health centre on Karang Island, which lies 10 miles away in the middle of a lake.

Officials now want to to build on this success by creating a nationwide drone system to reach other remote areas.

The majority of India’s 1.4 billion people are served by roughly 30,000 government-run primary health care centres, but at least five to 10 percent of the centres are inaccessible to medical suppliers due to their location.

India has so far only fully vaccinated around 20% of its adult population so officials hope new technology such as drones, could improve this figure.