On Saturday, before the vaccine’s actual distribution, a dry run for Covid-19 has commenced in three hospitals in Kerala’s Thiruvananthapuram and one each in Idukki, Wayanad, and Palakkad districts. The procedure aims at evaluating the state’s preparedness to distribute the vaccine.
In Thiruvananthapuram, the dry run will happen in Peroorkada District Model Hospital, Poozhanadu Primary Health Centre and KIMS Hospital. Among the others, Vazhathoppu Primary Health Centre in Idukki, Nenmara Community Health Centre in Palakkad and Kurukkamula Primary Health Centre have also been selected for a dry run.
In every district, twenty-five health workers will participate in the procedure. According to reports, around 313,000 people have registered for the vaccine in the state where the vaccine will be distributed in a phased manner. In phase 1, government and private health workers and those working in the health department in the railways and municipalities will be vaccinated. In phase 2, other departments that have worked at the forefront of the pandemic fight will get in, and in phase 3, the health department will provide vaccines to those aged over 60 years. In phase 4, those aged between 50-60 years will be vaccinated, and in phase 5, those under 50 years of age will be vaccinated. Besides, those under 50 years having other health problems will be given more priority in this category.
During the trial run at Peroorkada District Model Hospital, Health Minister KK Shailaja said, “Kerala is fully prepared. The expected vaccine is Covishield, developed by Oxford-AstraZeneca. The Centre said that the vaccine would arrive in two or three days but an official message is yet to be received in this regard.” She further added that the cold chain management has been ensured in all 14 districts. “However, we are not sure when we will be getting the vaccines. We will start the process as and when it reaches the state. Kerala has asked the Centre to provide a major share of the vaccine as we have a high density of population and a very high ageing population.”
The vaccine will be distributed to a maximum of 100 people per day through each assigned centre from 9 am to 5 pm. Through an injection, the vaccine will be administered to each person in two doses. At all the centres, there will be a team of five, including a doctor. For vaccine distribution, the District Collectors will ensure coordination among various departments.
The Health Minister said that testing rates for Covid-19 have been reduced for the second time. According to the new rates, the RT-PCR test will cost Rs 1,500, Xpert NAT test will cost Rs 2,500, TrueNAT test will cost Rs 1,500, RT-LAMP test will cost Rs 1,150, and rapid antigen test will cost Rs 300.