Kerala facing shortage of oxygen cylinders, Covid-19 vaccine doses as night curfew comes into effect

Many Mega vaccination camps in Kerala have come to a grinding halt due to the low stock of vaccine doses and reportedly, the state has less than five lakh vaccine doses
Representational Image
Representational ImageChristian Emmer

As Kerala’s night curfew comes into effect from tonight, the state is currently fighting a shortage of vaccine doses and oxygen cylinders amid a raging Covid-19 pandemic. These were problems Health Minister KK Shailaja warned the Centre during a recent meeting.

According to reports, the state currently has less than five lakh Covid-19 vaccine doses. Many Mega Vaccination camps in Kerala have come to a grinding halt due to low vaccine stock. Reportedly, the remaining vaccine doses would be administered in government hospitals until the stock runs out. There reports of vaccine shortage in Thiruvananthapuram and Kollam. Other districts are also hit severely.

Reportedly, those eligible for vaccination are calling hospitals to check if vaccine doses are available. The public is seen rushing when hospitals confirm that the doses are available. However, many are returning without taking the vaccination as doses are running out. Such incidents were reported in Ernakulam and Kozhikode.

Reports also point out that vaccine centres in Kottayam are overcrowded as there are eight Mega Camps taking place in the district. In Ernakulam, there are no Mega vaccine camps but vaccination is taking place in 113 vaccine centres.

Earlier, the state government asked the Centre 50 lakh vaccine doses but did not receive even half of the requested amount. A majority of people have not received their second dose in Kerala due to the vaccine shortage.

Meanwhile, Kerala is also reportedly facing a shortage of oxygen cylinder supply. According to reports, there isn’t sufficient Oxygen cylinder supply in the state. Out of 12 oxygen plants, a private plant in Palakkad’s Puthussery is producing 150 tonne of liquid Oxygen per day. The smaller plants across the state are producing on a smaller scale.

However, reports suggest that while 40 tonne of oxygen is supplied within the state, the rest is supplied to other states such as Maharashtra who are gasping for oxygen at the moment. Recently, Kerala supplied 20,000 litres of Oxygen to Goa. Goa Health Minister thanked KK Shailaja for the gesture.

However, Kerala itself needs at least 120 tonne of oxygen if cases keep surging at the current rate. Helping other states by supplying Oxygen supply is a good thing, but shouldn’t the state help its people first before other states?

Earlier, Shailaja made a statement on the Centre’s plan to export vaccines. “We are not saying that the vaccine is not available at all. We need to ensure availability of vaccines for everyone here before sending it abroad,” she said. Now, the state government is doing the same thing when it comes to oxygen supply. Irony indeed.

However, reports suggest that the only way to sort the oxygen supply issue is if the Kerala government can meet the state’s demand before supplying Oxygen cylinders to other states. On Monday, Kerala has recorded 13,644 Covid-19 cases, 4,305 recoveries and 21 deaths. The state collected 87,275 samples and the TPR was at 15.63%.

Meanwhile, the Kerala government’s night curfew from 9 pm to 6 am, begins today. However, the curfew will not affect freight and public transport. It is advised that companies must implement work from home (WFH) wherever possible during the curfew. Due to the night curfew, theatres will close by 7.30 pm.

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