Experts want TN-model Covid vaccine plan for Kerala

Express News Service

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Tamil Nadu model of Covid vaccination – channeling free vaccine through private hospitals – has caught the attention of experts in Kerala. They want the state to adopt similar methods to achieve herd immunity much earlier. 

Though Kerala leads in vaccination of eligible population and has increased the pace of vaccine delivery based on the supply from the Centre’s pool, it is not enough to achieve the desired herd immunity level, which, experts said, is when at least 75 per cent of the population develops antibodies. 

The latest serosurvey by ICMR has found that fewer people in Kerala have been infected by Covid than other states. Other states with lower share of vaccinated population showed more people with antibodies, indicating a higher recovery share, it was found.  Hence, it is imperative that Kerala thinks of ways to increase vaccination and save the life of the large number of people who are yet to develop antibodies, said the experts. They have sought an immediate intervention in view of the present surge in new cases and the arrival of Onam season. The state has emphasised on free and universal vaccination and has been largely dependent on Central allocation of doses, which is piecemeal. The capacity of small and medium-level private hospitals in vaccination has remained largely under-utilised owing to the difficulty in getting smaller stocks of vaccines. 

“We need out-of-the-box solutions like what TN did, instead of wasting time blaming the Centre for everything. The state can form a consortium of private hospitals and make bulk purchases of the vaccine from the 25 per cent pool of private hospitals. There will be several takers if the state subsidises the vaccines given via private hospitals,” said immunologist and public health expert Dr Padmanabha Shenoy.

Recently, experts under ‘Amuseum’ – a collective of independent intellectuals, scientists, artists and cultural enthusiasts from across the world – had urged the government to purchase the doses in bulk, open round-the-clock vaccination centres with the support of private hospitals and prepare for opening schools and colleges in a phased manner by September. The state chapter of IMA had also urged the government to support smaller hospitals in carrying out inoculation on a war footing. It wanted the government to consider other vaccines like Moderna and Sputnik V.

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