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These permissions is intended to achieve the dual objectives of faster vaccine delivery and improved healthcare System

Focusing at providing last-mile healthcare access as a faster mode, the government has allowed drone service for vaccine delivery on an experimental basis.

The trials being conducted will assist in assessing conditions such as population, degree of isolation, geography and so on in order to identify regions that specifically require drone deliveries.

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, with millions of doses to be transported across India.

Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) & Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA)have granted conditional exemption to the Government of Telangana for conducting experimental Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) drone flights for delivery of vaccines. Exemption has been granted from Unmanned Aircraft System {UAS) Rules, 2021.

Last month, the Telangana government was granted a conditional exemption for conducting experimental delivery of COVID-19 vaccines within the Visual Line of Sight (VLOS) Range using drones.

To accelerate the drone deployment process to formulate application-based models, the grant has been extended to Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS). The trials may commence by end of May 2021.

Some countries have been working on vaccine delivery using drones. For instance, Ghana has started one of the largest drone delivery vaccine networks, globally. It used the services of US’s Zipline to deliver vaccines supplied to Africa as part of the COVAX initiative, which is supported by the World Health Organization to ensure developing nations have access to covid-19 vaccines. Zipline has used drones to distribute blood and drugs in Rwanda, and medical supplies and PPE kits in North Carolina.

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