Kochi: Pinarayi Vijayan-led Kerala government is all set to begin the state-wide mass vaccination drive from Monday as the number of Covid-19 cases continue to rise. The inoculation drive will be conducted till August 31 and the focus will be on vaccinating senior citizens, final year degree students, PG students and primary school teachers.Also Read - Can Healthy Food Help in Preventing Covid-19 Infection and Death?

“In addition to the vaccines available to the state government, more vaccines need to be made available to the private sector. The state government will buy 20 lakh doses of vaccines and provide them to private hospitals at the same rate,” CM Vijayan said while interacting with reporters after the COVID-19 review meeting. Also Read - International Flights Latest News: Canada Lifts Travel Ban on Flyers From India | Read Latest Guidelines Here

More than 1.5 crore people in the state have already been administered the first dose of COVID-19 vaccine, accounting for 42.82% of Kerala’s population, Kerala Health Minister Veena George had stated. Also Read - Delhi School Reopening News: Resume Normal Classes For Primary, 6-8 Students, Demand Parents

“The distribution will be based on the number of vaccines that can be given through each private hospital. commercial institutions and public organizations can arrange vaccination from the purchased vaccines for local people with the participation of hospitals. The local self-government Institutions can arrange facilities for this. The goal is to vaccinate as many as possible at the earliest,” he added.

The first dose of vaccination for senior citizens will be completed by August 15. Patients with comorbidity will be vaccinated at home.

Announcing relaxations in the ongoing COVID restrictions, Kerala government allowed shopping malls to be open from 7 AM to 9 PM every day of the week except Sunday. Malls will reopen in the state from Wednesday in strict compliance with the protocols.

Kerala on Sunday reported 18,607 fresh cases of COVID-19 and 93 deaths, pushing the total to 35,52,525 and 17,747 respectively. The active cases stand at 1,76,572 at present.