Thiruvananthapuram: Even as the surge in COVID-19 positive cases has forced the Kerala Government to beef up preventive measures, experts have warned that the first dose of the vaccine alone will not develop immunity against SARS-CoV-2.
The warning was issued close on the heels of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan testing positive for the virus on Thursday. He had received the first dose on March 3. Experts said that immunity will develop only after receiving both the doses.
The Department of Health is yet to effectively convey that the infection, with less intensity, is possible even after receiving the first dose. The failure in effectively conveying the fact has led to a misinformation campaign, making people avoid the jab.
Authorities, meanwhile, urged all to strictly follow the COVID-19 protocol. Though it was announced that 2.5 lakh people will be administered the vaccine daily, the target is yet to be met. Additionally, the State has not ramped up the RT-PCR tests to detect the infection, even as the Test Positivity Rate touched 6.8 per cent on Thursday.
Of the 63,901 tests conducted in the State on Thursday, only 29,712 were RT-PCR. An instruction issued earlier to conduct one lakh tests, with RT-PCR comprising 75 per cent, is not implemented. RT-PCR is more effective in finding the virus than the antigen test.
Meanwhile, police have been asked to strictly enforce the COVID-19 protocol. The State police chief, Loknath Behera, instructed all police stations to ensure that the members of the public wear masks, avoid crowding and maintain social distancing.
Besides spreading awareness on COVID-19 prevention, police will also slap fine on those breaching the protocol. Those riding vehicles, too, should wear masks. Additional Director General of Police (Law and Order) Vijay Sakhare has been tasked with enforcing the restrictions.
Chief Secretary V P Joy clarified that those visiting Kerala from outside for a week need not be quarantined. However, those staying for more than a week will have to be in quarantine for a week and follow it up with a test on the eighth day.