THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Kerala joined the rest of the country in launching the COVID-19 immunisation programme on Saturday. Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the health workers of the Ernakulam district hospital during the launch via videoconferencing facility.
Health Minister KK Shailaja visited the district hospital in Kannur. She said there was no need for undue concerns about the vaccine side effects. According to her, those taking vaccination should continue the COVID precautions. As many as 133 vaccine centres started the immunisation programme shortly after the Prime Minister’s address. All centres have made elaborate arrangements for the immunisation by strictly following the COVID-19 protocol.
At least 1,300 people registered for vaccination are expected to get the first dose on the launch day. All centres had a thermal screening at the entrance. Only those without any visible symptoms of fever were allowed inside.
Those who have received plasma therapy, pregnant and lactating women have been excluded from the list. They were intimated about the centre through SMS, have their identity verified and given the jab by a trained nurse called vaccinator officer. It took up to five minutes to get the vaccination. After vaccination, one has to remain in compulsory observation in a separate room to check for any adverse events. All the centres have doctors to handle the adverse events following immunisation and transportation facility in the case of further emergency.
The immunisation programme has the backing of international agencies such as the World Health Organisation(WHO), United Nations Children's Fund(UNICEF) and United Nations Development Programme(UNDP).
The state received 4,33,500 doses of Covishield vaccine that was sent from the Serum Institute of India on January 13. Registered persons will get two doses of 0.5 ml each, with the second dose administered within 28 days of the first jab. The state will be able to inoculate less than 2 lakh people with the number of vaccine vials made available to it so far. There is likely to be a 10 per cent wastage.
The vaccination centres will function from 9 am to 5 pm on all days. Ernakulam has 12 vaccine centres followed by Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhikode with 11 each. All other districts have nine centres each.