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First vaccine dose given to over 90% of eligible persons in Kerala, says Health Minister Veena George

The minister, while speaking to reporters, said that a majority of the people who died due to COVID-19 were those who were unvaccinated and therefore, no one should be averse to getting both jabs of the vaccine.

September 20, 2021 / 07:21 PM IST

The first dose of vaccine has been administered to over 90 per cent of the people eligible for vaccination in Kerala, Health Minister Veena George said on Monday and urged people not to be averse to getting inoculated.

The minister, while speaking to reporters, said that a majority of the people who died due to COVID-19 were those who were unvaccinated and therefore, no one should be averse to getting both jabs of the vaccine.

She also said that more than five districts have administered the first dose to nearly 100 per cent of the people there and other districts are also close to reaching that milestone.

Asked why the government was not mentioning the Total Positivity Rate any more, the minister said that a decision was taken on the basis of experts' advise that after more than 80 per cent of the people here get the first dose of vaccination, further steps would be taken on the basis of Weekly Infection Population Ratio (WIPR).

The minister further said that with the state having passed the severe stage of the second wave, in the present situation people are being requested to scrupulously follow the COVID-19 safety protocols like wearing of masks and social distancing.

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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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She also said that people should avoid public gatherings and if possible, also avoid public events.

Any public event held in the state should conform to the restrictions imposed by the government with regard to the number of attendees, she added.

The minister said that the government has increased the number of RT-PCR tests as nearly 75 per cent of the people showing up for tests are asymptomatic. Besides that, awareness campaigns are going on and a sero prevalence study is also being conducted as part of the state's efforts to control spread of COVID-19.

She said the sero prevalence study would be completed by the end of September and once its results are available, further course of action would be decided.

On the issue of reopening of schools, she said that everyone was expressing the view that they should be reopened and therefore, both the health and education departments would be holding a meeting to decide what should be done.

Follow our full coverage of the coronavirus pandemic here.
PTI
first published: Sep 20, 2021 07:21 pm

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