Kerala runs out of vaccine again, looks for fresh supplies

Our Bureau Thiruvananthapuram | Updated on August 10, 2021

Next batch expected by tomorrow

The Covid vaccination drive in Kerala has yet again run into vaccine shortage even as it rolled out an intensive inoculation drive from Monday only to find that it had reached a dead-end in at least five of the 14 districts. According to State Health Department sources, the drive may fail to take off in right earnest even on Tuesday .

The State government had announced that it would launch a vaccination campaign from August 9 to August 31 which nearly floundered on the first day itself, eliciting derisive comments from detractors who doubted the State's intentions and criticised its vaccine housekeeping record.

Emergency stocktaking

According to the Health Department, the intention behind the vaccination drive was to administer as many first doses as possible to people, including students as well as the elderly. Health Minister Veena George had convened an emergency meeting to assess vaccine shortage late on Monday.

It was pointed out at the meeting that vaccination would be disrupted in many districts on Tuesday as the State has hardly any stock left. According to the Centre’s supply schedule, the next consignment to the State can be expected only by Wednesday, it was informed at the meeting.

Also read: Kerala reports high TPR of 13.23% despite lower sample base

Districts which have used up their vaccine supplies are Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Alappuzha, Kottayam and Wayanad. The government had directed that the entire stock of vaccines be distributed to people and not to keep aside any, a spokesperson of the Health Department said.

Request for urgent supplies

The Centre has been informed of the ‘dire situation’ and the Minister has appealed for adequate vaccine supplies be made available to the State at the earliest. As soon as fresh vaccine supplies are made available, it should be administered to as many people as possible, officials were told.

The State government is trying to reach the first dose to as many people as possible and this will be done in phases, with the priority for administering the first dose to all above 60 years. The State has nine lakh persons above 60 years who are yet to get the first dose of vaccine. As soon as vaccines are available, everyone in this category should be given the first dose within August 15, the minister said. A separate plan has been prepared to achieve this target. This is possible for the State since it has proven that it can deliver over five lakh doses a day, she added.

On Monday, 2,49,943 persons were administered vaccine. Till date, the first dose has been administered to dose to 44.63 per cent of the population, and the second dose to 18.3 per cent.

Published on August 10, 2021

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