Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Wednesday received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at the government medical college hospital here as the second phase of the vaccination drive progressed in the State.
"Vaccines provide immunity against diseases. I encourage everyone to get vaccinated as and when it is available. Together, let us overcome this pandemic through scientific methods," Vijayan tweeted after getting the jab.
The 75 years-old Marxist veteran had already informed that he would take the shot soon since the second phase of the vaccination drive began across the country on Monday.
Public Works Minister G Sudhakaran too received the jab from the Government General Hospital here in the morning.
On Tuesday, Kerala Health Minister KK Shailaja (64) and Minister of Ports and Museums Kadannappally Ramachandran (76) too got the jab.
While Kadannappally got vaccinated from a hospital in Kannur, Shailaja and her cabinet colleague Chandrasekharan got the shot from a hospital in Thiruvananthapuram.
More cabinet ministers belonging to the prescribed age group targeted in the second phase are also expected to take the vaccine in the coming days.
Shailaja, who won global recognition for her effective intervention in containing the pandemic in the state in the initial phase of the virus outbreak, had on Monday indicated that she would get vaccinated soon.
The minister had also said she wanted to receive the vaccine much earlier to alleviate concerns among people.
But, she decided to wait as there was a suggestion during the Prime Minister's meeting that people's representatives need not take the vaccine along with health workers and they can do it when their turn comes, the minister had said.
Meanwhile, Health Department sources here said the response of people towards the second phase vaccination drive was overwhelming and the number of those who turned up to take the shot in the state-run hospitals on the first day was much more than they expected.
The second phase targets anyone over 60 and those aged between 45-59 who have comorbidities.
They can receive vaccine shots for free at government hospitals and for a charge at private hospitals, as per the Centre's directive.
According to the Health Department, the state has received 4 lakh vaccine doses for the phase 2 immunisation drive.
How to register for vaccine?
Citizens can register and book an appointment for vaccination, anytime and anywhere, using the Co-WIN 2.0 portal www.cowin.gov.in or through other IT applications such as Aarogya Setu.
There is also a walk-in provision for the beneficiaries to get themselves registered at the nearby session site to get vaccinated. The eligible beneficiaries can choose the centre of their choice and book an appointment based on the slots available.
All citizens that are aged or will attain the age of 60 or more as of January 1, 2022, are eligible to register, in addition to all such citizens that are aged or will attain the age of 45 to 59 years as of January 1, 2022, and have any of the specified 20 comorbidities.
(With inputs from PTI)