Saturday, Mar 25, 2023

Explained: Why Kerala's Covid Numbers Have India On Edge Despite High Vaccinations

Explained: Why Kerala's Covid Numbers Have India On Edge Despite High Vaccinations

Despite the high vaccination statistics, Kerala continues to record high numbers of fresh Covid-19 infections.

Why is India worried about Kerala's Covid situation? PTI/File Photo

In a record for the state, Kerala on Saturday recorded over 4.5 lakh vaccinations in a single day. As many as 16 lakh doses of the Covid-19 vaccine have been administered in the state in the past week. However, the high rate of vaccination has led to concerns in the state about the depleting stock of vaccines, making many wonder if the state will be able to continue its successful vaccination drive.

How did Kerala chart history?

By vaccinating 4,53,339 people on Saturday, Kerala has shown that it can vaccinate more than four lakh people per day and that it was the best state where vaccination was concerned.

It also debunked the propaganda that the state was hoarding around 10 lakh vaccines, Kerala Health Minister Veena George said while releasing the new data.

The statement is a reference to India's Union Minister for Health Mansukh Mandaviya who allegedly asked about why the 10 lakh vaccine doses that had been supplied to the state earlier in June has remained unused.

Is Kerala ahead of India in vaccinations? 

As per the state health minister, vaccination in the state was higher than the national average and all of its health workers and frontline workers have received the first dose of the COVID vaccine.

George also said that presently there are 1,522 vaccination centres of which 1,380 were run by the government and remaining were private.

Of the 14 districts, Kannur came first by vaccinating 59,374 people, Thrissur second with 53,841 and Kottayam third with 51,276.

So far, a total of 1,83,89,973 people in the state have been vaccinated with one or two doses.

Of these, 1,28,23,869 were given the first dose and 55,66,104 were given the second dose, she said. 38.39 per cent of the total population was given the first dose and 16.66 per cent the second dose.

The state said that 53.43 per cent of the population which was over the age of 18 have been given the first dose and 23.19 per cent the second dose, which was well ahead of the central average.

Then why do we still need to worry about Kerala?

Despite the high vaccination statistics, Kerala continues to record high numbers of fresh Covid-19 infections. On Saturday, the state recorded 18,531 fresh cases, pushing the infection
count to 32,54,064, with the test positivity rate (TPR) falling to below 12 per cent.

The TPR had crossed 11 per cent on July 19 after remaining below it for several weeks and had continued to rise till 13.63 per cent, on July 23.

The number of people who succumbed to the virus rose to 15,969 with 98 more deaths.

The statistics are worrying as Kerala has continued to report a high rise in daily cases as compared to the rest of the country, consecutively constituting nearly 40 per cent of the country's daily cases in the past few days. On July 18, the state reported 36.6 per cent of the country's daily cases, 42.2 percent on July 21 and 44.8 percent on July 23.

As of July 24, Kerala has the highest number of active Covid-19 cases, with 1.3 lakh patients making up one-third of the total active cases in the country.

The consistently high number of Covid-19 cases in the state is similar to the spike seen in Maharashtra before the second wave earlier in the year, sparking concerns for the potential of the third wave in Kerala. 

The rising number of Covid cases is not the state's only concern.

Despite its impressive vaccination numbers, Health Minister George informed on Saturday that the state was fast exhausting its stock of vaccines. The minister said that not everyone will be able to get vaccinated on Sunday as the state only had two lakh vaccines left in its stock.

The minister said that if more vaccines are not supplied to the state by the central government soon, vaccination in Kerala would come to a standstill for an indefinite period. 

(With inputs from PTI)