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Acute vaccine shortage in Kerala forces major COVID-19 vaccination centres to close

Thiruvananthapuram's Jimmy George Indoor Stadium vaccination centre was forced to close on April 20 due to shortage of vaccine doses.

April 21, 2021 / 08:55 AM IST
Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan on April 20 wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi urging him to release an adequate number of vaccine doses to the state. [Representative picture: Reuters]

Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan on April 20 wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi urging him to release an adequate number of vaccine doses to the state. [Representative picture: Reuters]

Facing an acute shortage of COVID-19 vaccines, Kerala has shut mega vaccination centres, government primary health centres. Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan, on April 20, wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi urging him to release an adequate number of vaccine doses to the state.

"The state, which had requested 50 lakh doses of vaccine to implement its vaccination plan had so far received only 5.5 lakh doses, due to which the government was forced to stop on the spot registration, affecting efforts to deal with the rapid surge," Vijayan said and urged the Centre to allot the

balance doses at the earliest.

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Thiruvananthapuram's Jimmy George Indoor Stadium, which was one of the state's largest mass vaccination centres, was forced to close on April 20 due to a lack of vaccine doses.

"This was once one of the state's largest facilities. We vaccinated as many as 3,100 people in a single day on several occasions. Due to a supply shortage over the last few days, we had to monitor vaccination by tokens. By Monday afternoon, we had run out of stock," a representative of the vaccination centre told India Today.


COVID-19 Vaccine

Frequently Asked Questions

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How does a vaccine work?

A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.

How many types of vaccines are there?

There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.

What does it take to develop a vaccine of this kind?

Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.

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Read: Kerala CM writes to PM Modi on the new vaccine policy, asks him to reconsider the policy

In the highest single-day surge in the state since the outbreak of the pandemic, Kerala recorded 19,577 COVID-19 cases, including 66 health workers, on April 20, pushing the caseload to 12.72 lakh and active

cases to 1.18 lakh, the state government said.

The state has imposed night curfew to stem the rise in cases. Malls and cinema houses in the state will function only till 7.30 pm as part of the restrictions, which will last for two weeks.

Hotels and restaurants have been directed to restrict in house dining to the barest minimum and encourage home deliveries and takeaways, which are permitted till 9 pm.

Read | Kerala imposes night curfew: Check what's allowed, what's not

Essential services, including medical stores, hospitals, milk have been exempted from the curfew, which will be in force from 9 pm to 5 am.

The state-level bankers' committee has also decided to restrict banking hours from 10 am to 2 pm till April 30.

Due to the rise in cases, the iconic Thrissur Pooram will be held without public participation this week.

Click here for Moneycontrol's full coverage of the COVID-19 outbreak
Moneycontrol News
first published: Apr 21, 2021 08:55 am

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