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Coronavirus | Kerala to buy one crore vaccine doses

State contracting for 70 lakh Covishield, 30 lakh Covaxin doses; Karnataka adds nearly 40,000 cases

Kerala will purchase one-crore doses of COVID-19 vaccines from two manufacturers for the 18-45 age group.

A Cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Wednesday took the decision. The vaccines will cost ₹483 crore. Of the one-crore doses, 70 lakh doses will be Covishield and the rest Covaxin. The first 10-lakh doses will be purchased next week and the entire purchase completed by July.

 

As per the initial estimate, the State will pay ₹294 crore for Covishield at ₹400 per dose and 5% GST and ₹189 crore for 30 lakh doses of Covaxin at ₹600 each including GST. Covishield maker Serum Institute of India (SII) announced a reduction in price to ₹300 per dose for States on Wednesday evening.

The Chief Minister said, “The pricing of the vaccine is inappropriate. They are giving it to the Centre for ₹150 a dose. We have asked them to change the policy and give it free. There is no response from the Centre,” he added.

On the hassles faced in vaccinating those over 45, Mr. Vijayan cited low stocks. “Vaccination is based on the availability of vaccines provided by the Centre,” he said. On Wednesday, the daily new cases rose to 35,013 cases in Kerala. The test positivity rate (TPR), a little over 19% a week ago, rose to 25.34%. On Wednesday, the State added 41 new deaths.

Andhra Pradesh added 14,669 cases and 71 deaths on Wednesday. The TPR for 74,748 samples was 19.62%.

On alleged under-reporting of COVID deaths in Telangana, Director of Medical Education K. Ramesh Reddy said critical non-COVID patients were also admitted to hospitals, and deaths were a combined list. New cases showed a dip at 8,061 on Tuesday, but 56 people died.

On the first day of the 14-day lockdown in Karnataka, people could buy essential commodities from 6 a.m to 10 a.m. Thereafter, police forced shops and markets to close, and barricaded roads.

Karnataka on Wednesday reported 39,047 new cases, 22,596 cases from Bengaluru Urban district, and 229 deaths.

(With inputs from Vijayawada, Hyderabad and Bengaluru bureaus)

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