As per the guidelines, authorised airlines can carry the vaccine packed in dry ice in the passenger or the cargo cabin.
“All scheduled operators who have been currently authorised to carry dangerous goods may carry Covid-19 vaccine packed in dry ice, meeting the regulatory requirements,” it said.
The circular noted that the carriage of Covid-19 vaccines from the manufacturing units to the place of administration gains significant importance especially in the light of the high expectations of the governments, healthcare personnel and the general public.
“It is needless to say that amongst the various modes of transport, air transport is the most efficient option. Hence, it is imperative that air logistics provide a well-defined procedure that meets the global safety standards and requirements based on local conditions,” it added.
Non-scheduled operators, including aircraft engaged in general aviation that are required to participate in the carriage of Covid-19 vaccines packed in dry ice, will have to seek specific approval before commencing such operations.
Regarding the requirment of packaging the vaccines with dry ice, the DGCA said that the temperature maintenance requirement for Covid-19 vaccines is reported to be varying from minus 8 degrees Celsius to minus 70 degrees Celsius and hence, the use of refrigerant material during the transportation becomes essential.