DGCA issues norms for transportation of Covid-19 vaccines


Highlighting the necessary precautions and modalities for airlines, aviation regulator DGCA on Friday issued guidelines for transport of Covid-19 vaccines packed in dry ice across the country.

If vaccines packed in dry ice are being transported in the passenger cabin of an aircraft, the flight crew should be properly trained on the hazards and risks of its tran­sportation, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) noted.

It added that dry ice transforms into carbon dioxide gas at temperatures higher than minus 78 degrees Celsius under normal atmospheric pressure and, therefore, it is classified as “dangerous goods” by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

“Adequate number of carbon dioxide detectors should be available in the cabin. Such detectors should be located at locations for timely and reliable detection of dangerous concentration of carbon dioxide,” the watchdog stated.

“All operators while engaging in transportation of Covid-19 vaccines packed with dry ice shall establish the maximum quantity of dry ice that can be loaded in a given cargo hold or in the main deck (passenger cabin) when a passenger version is deployed for all cargo operations,” it added.

The temperature maintenance requirement for Covid-19 vaccines is reported to be varying from minus 8 degree Celsius to minus 70 degree Celsius and hence, the use of refrigerant material during the transportation becomes essential, the DGCA noted. Dry ice is most commonly used as a refrigerant material for transportation of perishables by air, it added.

The country’s apex drug regulator has approved Oxford Covid-19 vaccine Covishield, being manufactured by the Serum Institute, and indigenously developed Covaxin of Bharat Biotech for restricted emergency use. With PTI

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