After the Indian Council of Medical Research, the Telangana government on Friday received permission for the deployment of drones to conduct experimental delivery of Covid-19 vaccines within the Visual Line of Sight (VLOS) Range.
The conditional exemption, granted by the Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) and Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), is valid for a period of one year or until further orders, and will be valid only if all conditions and limitations as stated for the respective entities are strictly adhered to, a Ministry statement said.
Trials will also assist in assessing conditions such as population, degree of isolation, geography, etc to identify regions that specifically require drone deliveries.
Earlier this month, similar permission was granted to the ICMR for conducting a feasibility study of Covid-19 vaccine delivery using drones in collaboration with IIT Kanpur.
The grant of these permissions is intended to achieve the dual objectives of faster vaccine delivery and improved healthcare access by ensuring primary healthcare delivery at the citizen’s doorstep; limiting human exposure to Covid congested or Covid-prone areas through aerial delivery; ensuring access to health care to the last mile, especially in remote areas; possible integration into the middle mile of medical logistics for long-range drones; and improving the medical supply chain, especially with a third vaccine expected to be commissioned and millions of doses to be transported across India.