More than 25% of the people in Kerala have been given the first dose of COVID-19 vaccine, said state health minister Veena George. So far, 1,09,61,670 doses of vaccine have been administered in the state. Among these 87,52,601 people have received the first dose and 22,09,069 others have received both the doses. A release of the health department said that 26.2% of the people have received the first dose and 6.61% have received both doses, as per the population of the 2011 census.
Most number of vaccinations have been provided in the capital district of Thiruvananthapuram. As many as 10,08,936 people in the capital have received the first dose, while 2,81,828 others have received both the doses. Veena George also said that an action plan will be formed to be prepared for a likely third wave of COVID-19 infections and maximum people will be vaccinated. An evaluation meeting of the vaccination team, headed by the minister, was conducted last day.
Kerala has so far received 1,05,13,620 vaccine doses including Covishield and Covaccine. Among these, the state bought 8,84,290 doses directly from the vaccine companies while the remaining were sent by the Union government.
After a lot of pressure from the various state governments, the Union government changed its earlier vaccine policy of supplying only 50% of the vaccine needed by the states, leaving them to procure the rest directly from the manufacturers. Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Monday that the Union government will buy 75% of the vaccines from the makers and distribute it to the states for free. They will provide vaccination for free for all aged 18 and above, PM Modi said.
Kerala began COVID-19 vaccination on January 16 this year. The state had begun a mass vaccination drive to vaccinate everyone aged 45 and above by March 20. However, when the country faced a vaccine shortage, the drive had to be ended midway. The state then began vaccinating people in the 18 to 44 age group following a priority list: those who had co-morbidities were given preference over others. However, with the availability of more vaccines, it has now started vaccinating everyone aged 40 and above, without following a priority list.