For Kunal and Rahul Agarwal, January 12 wasn’t just another day. Eight years after the siblings decided to take their family-run business into uncharted territories, they could finally heave a sigh of relief.
That’s because, on January 12, Kool-ex, a company they own, became the first transporter in India to ferry the first batch of the long-awaited Covid-19 vaccine, intended to vaccinate millions of Indians, from Serum Institute of India’s (SII) manufacturing facility in Pune to the city’s airport.
SII is currently mandated with supplying over 30 crore vaccine doses to the Indian government, and the first consignment of these—478 boxes, each weighing 32 kg—were loaded onto three trucks meant for 13 cities. “We carried the first consignment to the airport,” says Kunal. “We will then pick up consignments at the destination airports and move them forward to the final destinations.”
The trucks, escorted by armed police vehicles, are equipped with GPS and will be monitored in real-time by the brothers, who can track everything from the temperature inside the trucks to the opening of their doors. “We are excited at being deemed capable enough to serve the nation as we had to undergo a stringent quality approval process,” says Rahul, managing director at Kool-ex. “It's something very prestigious for us.”
With over 10 million Covid-19 cases, India is the world’s second worst-hit country. The Indian government began vaccinations with Covishield, a vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and manufactured by Pune-based SII, and Covaxin, manufactured by Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech, from January 16.
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