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COVID-19 vaccine: On Day 1,13,330 health care workers in Kerala to be vaccinated

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Thiruvananthapuram, Jan 16: The vaccination drive to combat COVID-19 began in Kerala on Saturday at 1,13,330 designated centres with prominent government doctors among the first batch of frontline workers to be administered the vaccine.

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"It's a proud moment here in Kannur that the director of Malabar Cancer Centre, Dr Satheeshan Balasubramanyam became the first person in the district to receive the vaccine," State Health Minister KK Shailaja said.

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Shailaja, who visited one of the centres in Kannur district, said such prominent persons will receive the vaccine at each district centre and in all 13,300 health care workers will be covered in a single day. Director of Health Service RL Saritha was given the vaccine shot in Thiruvananthapuram. Shailaja told reporters in Kannur that a committee headed by the Chief Secretary of the state was overseeing the drive.

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    According to the health department, a total of 100 people will be vaccinated at each centre in a day, aggregating to 13,300 healthcare workers on Saturday. In the initial phase, the vaccination will be given to the healthcare workers, and in the next phase, it will be made available to the police, central armed forces, municipality employees, other frontline workers and volunteers, the Minister said.

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    When asked about the availability of the vaccines for the public, Shailaja said after the second phase, those above the age of 50 and others affected with various diseases will be given priority. The minister asked the people to remain cautious even after the vaccination.

    She said after the first dose of vaccine, the second dose must be taken after 28 days. "The pandemic is not going to end after this vaccine. We still need to make sure that we follow the health protocol, including the use of masks, hand wash and social distancing. The immunity will be developed slowly," she said.

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    After the second dose, it would take another 14 days to develop immunity, she said, adding "Its a continuous process. We need to remain vigilant until the threat of virus is completely gone." The first consignment of 4,33,500 doses of Covishield vaccine was received in the state from the Pune-based Serum Institute of India earlier this week.

    Of the 4.33,500 lakh vaccine dose, 1,100 was sent to Mahe, which is an enclave of Puducherry and lies between Kozhikode and Kannur districts. As many as 3,68,866 people have registered for the vaccine drive.

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