THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Even as the government claims that the state is far ahead of other states in vaccinating the people, those who live in the border districts find booking a slot for vaccination in private hospitals in Tamil Nadu or Karnataka is easier than searching for a vaccination slot in Kerala. K Arun, 35, of Neyyattinkara in Thiruvananthapuram, who recently took his first dose of vaccination from Chennai, said the people who live in the border areas prefer neighbouring districts in Tamil Nadu to get the vaccine as there is no rush for paid doses in the neighbouring state.
In the state, the priorities for vaccination have changed of late. Even people above 45 years of age are looking for the mercy of local political leaders to get their first dose of vaccine. V K Girish, 52, of Thrissur said he had been trying for a vaccination slot for the past couple of months. “I also knocked at the doors of ASHA workers and local politicians to get the dose as the nature of my work involves interacting with various kinds of people. Finally, I had to finally take a paid vaccine from Tamil Nadu when I visited there,” he said.
“If you are desperate to get your jab today or tomorrow, taking a vaccine from the nearest private hospital across the state border is the best option,” he added. “I personally advise elderly people who have taken their first dose and are waiting for the second dose after the 84-day period to take the vaccine from across the state border as there is no serpentine queue or harrowing experience to get your slot,” said Arun.
It is sad to note that the state has been lagging behind in vaccination when compared with other states. “It has to be investigated why the state is lagging behind other states despite the people here being positive to taking their vaccine jabs since the second wave of Covid started,” said IMA state secretary P Gopikumar.
In addition, the priorities got skewed after the government decided to rope in local self-government body members and others in the vaccination programme, he said.
“If, earlier, elderly people or people with comorbidities and certain categories were chosen by health workers for vaccination, things have now taken a turn for the worse as local politicians have been given charge of spot registration. Their priority is not comorbidity or other factors, but their political and personal interest, which has hit the vaccination drive in Kerala badly,” he added.
According to the government statement, as on Saturday, 1,83,89,973 people have been given vaccination so far, including first dose for 1,28,23,869 persons and second dose for 55,66,104. Going by the 2011 census, 38.39% of the total population have received the first dose and 16.66% the second dose. If we consider people aged above 18, 53.43% have received the first dose and 23.19% the second dose.