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Experimental drone delivery for Covid-19 vaccines, a step towards improving healthcare

  • Drone use Permission to Telangana Government for Experimental delivery of Covid-19 Vaccines 
  • ICMR has given permission for the study of Vaccine delivery using drones 
  • Permissions intended to achieve improved access to healthcare 

The Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) and Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) have granted conditional exemption for drone deployment to the Government of Telangana. The drone usage permission has been granted for conducting experimental delivery of Covid-19 vaccines within Visual Line of Sight (VLOS) Range using drones. The permission exemption is valid for a period of one year or until further orders. These exemptions shall be valid only if all conditions and limitations as stated for the respective entities are strictly adhered to. 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 Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) for conducting 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 & 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 
  • Improving medical supply chain, especially with a third vaccine expected to be commissioned and millions of doses to be transported across India

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