Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Saturday announced that COVID-19 vaccine will be made available free of cost to people in the state. "No one will be charged for the vaccine. This is the stand of the government," CM told reporters in Kannur.
Kerala is the latest in the line to announce a free cost COVID-19 vaccine for its people. Multiple states, including Tamil Nadu and Madhya Pradesh, have already made a similar announcement. The Centre on Tuesday said three COVID-19 vaccines, developed by Bharat Biotech, Serum Institute of India and Pfizer, are under active consideration of India's drug regulator and there is hope that early licensure is possible for all or any of them.
Pinarayi Vijayan said the quantity of the vaccine that would be allotted to the state by the Centre is not yet known.
"The fact is that the number of COVID-19 cases is decreasing, which is a matter of relief. However, it needs to be seen if the local body polls, two phases of which are over, would contribute to an increase in cases. That will be known only in the days to come," he said.
If the cases do not increase, this trend (of cases declining) will continue, the Chief Minister added.
Kerala on Saturday recorded 5,949 new COVID-19 cases and 32 deaths, taking the caseload to 6.64 lakh and the toll to 2,595. The number of people under treatment stands at 60,029. 5,268 people also recovered on Saturday. Of the latest positive cases, as many as 47 were health workers, 83 had come from outside the state, 5,173 infected through contact and the source of infection of 646 people was not known.
A total of 59,690 samples were tested in the last 24 hours and the test positivity rate was 9.97 per cent. So far, 69,21,597 samples have been sent for testing. A total of 3,15,167 people were under observation in various districts with 13,334 of them in hospitals.
Malappuram recorded the highest number of cases at 765, followed by Kozhikode 763 and Ernakulam 732. Kasaragod accounted for the lowest number of 60 cases on Saturday.
There are 437 hotspots in the state, with the addition of Manarkkad in Palakkad and removal of four localities.
Watch video of Pinarayi Vijayan's statement: