Only 6% target population fully vaccinated in Kerala, Health News, ET HealthWorld


Kochi: More than four months after Kerala started its Covid vaccination drive on January 16, only 6% of its population has been fully vaccinated or received both doses of the vaccine. But in the race between the virus and vaccination programme, the state is still doing better compared with the larger states. Nationally, only 3% of the population has been covered.

There is now increasing scientific evidence that the two doses of vaccination is the only effective and economical solution in the fight against more transmissible mutant virus variants that could emerge in the third wave.

Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan had asked the health department to ensure that all those above 40 years are vaccinated by July 15. But at the present pace, the state is likely to miss the deadline.

“With the new Delta strain emerging, there is a scientific imperative that two doses of the vaccine are needed to ensure maximum protection. Unfortunately, during an active surge, crowded vaccination centres can potentially become mass spreading events. Therefore, the government should consider decentralisation of the vaccination drive, preferably door-to-door vaccination and in small clinics to reduce chances of mass infections among vulnerable people,” said Dr Rajeev Jayadevan, lead researcher of IMA-Kochi’s national survey on post-vaccination symptoms and experiences of healthcare workers.

About 24% of the people in the state have received at least one dose of the vaccine. Among them, 44% are above 60 years, another 40% between 45-60 years and 16% in the age group of 18- 44.

“The good thing about Kerala is that it is prioritizing its elderly and a large number of people above 60 years have at least received one dose,” said health economist Rijo M John.

To speed up the vaccination drive, the government on Thursday held a meeting with private hospitals in which they discussed how the government can coordinate with vaccine manufacturers and ensure steady supply.

When a few hospitals expressed willingness to join hands with the government to vaccinate citizens for free, the state health authority officials were, however, non-committal.

“People are willing to be vaccinated but the government is not vaccinating more than 1.5 lakh persons per day. This is despite the fact that at any given point of time, we have 4.5-5 lakh vaccines in stock. The government needs to rework on its vaccination logistics– it is easy to get the first dose but people are unable to get an appointment for the second dose with the wait longer than the stipulated deadline for many,” said Dr Jayakrishnan AV, chairman, Indian Medical Association’s (IMA) committee for vaccination promotion and coordination.

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