Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan on Friday said the COVID-19 pandemic has posed a great challenge to the development prospects of the state as it is likely to witness high revenue and fiscal deficits.
Providing free COVID-19 vaccine to all is the policy of the state government and an additional Rs 1,000 crore expenditure is expected for this, he said while presenting the policy address of the second Pinarayi Vijayan government in the state Assembly here.
Despite fiscal constraints, the government has stepped forward to meet the challenges posed by the pandemic and has floated global tenders and placed orders with domestic vaccine manufacturers.
Even though there are over 22 lakh confirmed COVID cases, the state could keep the mortality to around 8,000, he said.
"Unprecedented COVID pandemic had thrown a big challenge. The resurgence of COVID has resulted in falling revenues. This might constrain us to push the panic button," Khan said.
Frequently Asked Questions
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.
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.
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.
Detailing the welfare programmes implemented during the time of the pandemic, he said the state government, in the current second wave, has announced Rs 1,000 crore as ex-gratia payments to all BPL families who do not have welfare pensions.The Governor also hailed the positive response of people towards thevaccine challengeproposed by the government.