The government has announced that the vaccine will be administered free of cost to everyone in the state.

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan speaking at a press conference mask around his chin
news Coronavirus Thursday, April 22, 2021 - 20:45

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said on Thursday that the state has initiated procedures to procure the vaccines to protect against COVID-19 from the open market, and that discussions are on with companies.

“Kerala has initiated procedures for the procurement of #COVID19 vaccines from the open market. Discussions are on with companies. Chief Secretary, Finance Secretary and Health Secretary will consult and place orders as required,” the Chief Minister tweeted.

On Wednesday, he said the government would provide the vaccine free of cost for everyone in the state. "Vaccines will be provided free of cost for everyone in Kerala. We don't have the habit of changing our stance like others. We had announced free vaccines in the State," he said.

With Kerala witnessing a massive surge in COVID-19 cases, the state government on Thursday called an all-party meeting on April 26.

Kerala reported 26,995 new cases on Thursday, in the highest single day surge so far, taking the total infection count to 13,22,054 and those under treatment to over 1.5 lakh. As many as 6,370 have been cured of the disease, pushing the total recoveries to 11,60,472. The toll has climbed to 5,028 with 28 additional deaths.

Earlier, the Chief Minister said there was a shortage of vaccine in the state and it has affected the goal of the government to administer 2.5 lakh doses per day.

"Our aim was to provide a vaccine to 2.5 lakh people per day in the State so that 1,13,00,000 people above the age of 45 can be vaccinated by May 20. But, this has been affected due to shortage of vaccines. Now, we need to administer 3,70,000 vaccines per day to achieve that goal," Vijayan said.

The state, which had requested for 50 lakh doses of vaccine to implement its vaccination plan, had so far received only 5.5 lakh doses, he said. Because of this, the government was forced to stop on-the-spot registration thereby hampering efforts to deal with the rapid surge, he said and urged the Centre to allot thebalance doses at the earliest.

On Tuesday, in a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying the additional burden of purchasing the vaccines would strain the state's finances.

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