The Civil Aviation Ministry and DGCA have granted conditional exemption to the ICMR for this study.
On Thursday, the Civil Aviation Ministry permitted the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) to conduct a feasibility study of COVID-19 vaccine delivery using drones, in collaboration with IIT Kanpur. As per a statement, the Ministry and Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) have granted conditional exemption to the ICMR for this purpose. "The permission exemption is valid for a period of one year or until further orders," the Ministry mentioned.
To ease accessibility issues faced by medical professionals
Further, the orders read, "These exemptions shall be valid only if all conditions and limitations as stated for the respective entities are strictly adhered to. In case of violation of any condition, the exemption shall become null and void and action may be initiated by MoCA and DGCA."
Consequently, with the permission granted by the ministry to the ICMR and IIT Kanpur, there are hopes that drones may be able to ramp up the inoculation drive, by speedily reaching out to remote areas. If the study is regarded as feasible enough for the practical execution of it, then the usage of drones to deliver vaccines might solve accessibility issues faced by medical professionals or patients.
Just earlier this week, the centre announced that the third phase of the COVID-19 vaccination drive will now blanket everyone above 18 years and it is all set to begin across the country from May 1. This news comes at a time when the entire country is under the grip of a hostile second wave of the pandemic. Thus, making use of all the available resources is the right way to go about it and drone operations will further augment the process of immunisation.