Truck laden with COVAXIN abandoned for 12 hours, driver missing
A truck carrying 2.40 lakh doses of COVAXIN worth Rs. 8 crore was left parked for nearly 12 hours after its driver went missing under mysterious circumstances in Madhya Pradesh's Narsinghpur district. "The Tamil Nadu-registered vehicle, which was transporting COVAXIN from Hyderabad to Karnal in Haryana, was left abandoned for nearly 12 hours in the Kareli area," Narsinghpur Superintendent of Police Vipul Shrivastava said.
Truck was parked near Kareli Bus Stand
"The matter came to light on Friday afternoon when the police was informed that a truck, with a mention of vaccine manufacturer Bharat Biotech on it, was parked near Kareli Bus Stand, around 16 km from the district headquarters," the official said.
Transport company couldn't contact the driver of the truck
"We contacted the transport company TCI of Gurgaon and informed them about the driverless truck. The company also got worried when they couldn't contact the driver after finding out through the GPS that the vehicle remained stationary at Kareli," Shrivastava said. "The company then arranged for another driver and the truck set off for Karnal at 8:00 pm," he added.
Refrigerator with vaccine doses was functioning as engine was on
Shrivastav said that the driver Vikas Mishra, who abandoned the truck, is still missing. "We tracked down his phone at a place 16 km from the spot. As the engine of the vehicle was on, its refrigerator with vaccine doses was functioning. So, I feel that vaccines were safe," the official added.
Driver was not robbed, efforts are on to trace him
When asked if incidents of truck loots had been reported on the route in the past, Shrivastava said that road robberies are almost naught in the region. "Circumstantial evidence suggests that the driver was not robbed. Efforts are on to trace the driver, who is in his early to mid-20s and hails from Amethi, Uttar Pradesh," the official added.
Vaccination for people above 18 years to start from today
Notably, the central government has announced that the vaccination drive for individuals above 18 years will start from today. Earlier, only people above the age of 45 were allowed to be vaccinated for the viral disease.