CBIC puts in response teams for faster clearance of Covid vaccine shipments

NEW DELHI: The CBIC has put in place a COVID-19 Vaccine Response Team (CVRT) at air cargo/courier terminals which will function as a single point of contact for all such clearances and ensure that vaccines are given instant delivery upon arrival, the Finance Ministry said on Friday.

The Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) has put in place a COVID Response Plan (CRP) for speedy clearances of COVID-19 vaccines at all major airports.

The plan provides for setting up of a COVID-19 Vaccine Response Team (CVRT) at each Air Cargo/Courier Terminal.

“The CVRT will function as a single point of contact for all the clearance related to COVID-19 vaccine shipments and coordinate among the concerned stakeholders to ensure that vaccines are given instant delivery upon arrival,” it said.

So far, India has allowed domestically manufactured Covid vaccines and import of one from Russia (Sputnik V).

Additionally, the CBIC has enabled the import/export of vaccines in relation to COVID -19 through Courier, by issuing the Courier Imports and Exports (Electronic Declaration and Processing) Amendment Regulations, 2020.

The Courier Regulations earlier had certain limits on the value of goods that could be brought in through courier, whereas the amended regulations allow the import and export of COVID vaccines through courier without any value limit.

As the vaccines would be transported through special containers equipped with temperature monitoring and tracking devices, provision has also been made for their duty-free temporary admission, the ministry said.

“CBIC would closely monitor the vaccine logistics to ensure their seamless movement at the borders and address any challenges that may arise in this regard,” the ministry added.

The total number of COVID-19 vaccine doses administered in India so far has surpassed 39.49 crore, the Union Health Ministry said on Thursday.

According to a provisional report at 7pm, more than 35.15 lakh vaccine doses were administered on Thursday.

The ministry said 16,59,977 vaccine doses were administered as first dose and 1,61,950 as the second dose in the age group 18-44 years on Thursday.

Cumulatively, 11,97,36,449 people in the age group 18-44 years have received their first dose and 43,72,202 their second dose since the start of phase three of the vaccination drive.

Eight states — Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Bihar, Gujarat, Karnataka and Maharashtra — have administered more than 50 lakh first dose of COVID-19 vaccine in the age group 18-44 years.

Also, Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Haryana, Jharkhand, Kerala, Telangana, Himachal Pradesh, Odisha, Punjab, Uttarakhand and West Bengal have vaccinated more than 10 lakh beneficiaries of the age group 18-44 years for the first dose of COVID vaccine, the ministry said.