First batch of COVID-19 vaccines directly procured by Kerala arrives

The first batch of 3.5 lakh doses of Covishield vaccine, directly procured by the State Government, arrived at Kochi on Monday and was moved to the warehouse of Kerala Medical Services Corporation Ltd., the State’s purchasing agency.

Following the Centre’s announcement of the new vaccine policy, which left the States to fend for itself when it came to procuring vaccines for administering to the 18-45 years age group, Kerala had decided to purchase a crore doses of COVID-19 vaccine – 75 lakh doses of Covishield and 25 lakh doses of Covaxin – directly from the manufacturers.

Though the negotiations had been initiated, both vaccine manufacturers, Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech, had expressed their inability to supply the vaccine in bulk quantities to the State, as they had prior vaccine commitments to the Centre which had to be met first.

The Chief Minister, Pinarayi Vijayan, had made it clear that while the purchase processes were on, the vaccine stocks were not expected to arrive as soon as the State would like.

Acute vaccine shortage continues in the State, as the State only receives vaccines in small quantities from the Centre at regular intervals. Because of the acute shortage, vaccination sessions are now conducted in a limited manner in the State and this has been leading to huge crowding at many vaccination centres.

After the registration for vaccination was opened up for the 18-45 years group on May 1, Kerala stopped vaccine supplies to the private hospitals too, asking them to purchase vaccines directly

The vaccination of the 18-45 year age group has thus remained a non-starter in Kerala because there is not enough stock to disburse.

Now that the State-procured stock has arrived, Kerala will open vaccination for this age group, prioritising it for those suffering from serious diseases.

Priority will also be given to those categories of population, who have to interact with a lot of people in daily life, like delivery boys or sales staff on shops. Vaccination would be taken up full-fledged for this group, depending on the availability of vaccines.

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Printable version | Jun 25, 2021 3:44:03 PM |

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