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‘Risk of Covid death 3.5 times higher among unvaccinated in TN’

TE Raja Simhan Chennai | Updated on November 25, 2021

J Radhakrishnan, Tamil Nadu Health secretary   -  THE HINDU

Health Secretary cites August-October data and urges district collectors to speed up the pace of vaccination

Data in Tamil Nadu showed that risk of death from Covid was 3.5 times higher for those unvaccinated, compared with those vaccinated. This should help convince the common man of the need to be vaccinated at the earliest, Health Secretary J Radhakrishnan said in a message to all district collectors and the Greater Chennai Corporation Collector.

His appeal comes as the vaccination figure for the State shows 75 per cent had received the first dose and 39.53 per cent were fully vaccinated.

“We have sufficient stock of vaccines across the State and request people to get vaccinated to save themselves from Covid,” Radhakrishnan said.

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Between August and October 2021, 2,011 persons died of Covid in the State. Only 109 (5 per cent) of them had been fully vaccinated, and delayed treatment and comorbidities were the cause of death, he said.

Among the rest, around 84 per cent (1,675) were unvaccinated and 11 per cent (227) had received a single dose of vaccine. “We technically calculate risk by case fatality rate (CFR), which indicates the risk of a person dying from a particular disease,” he said.

He called for the continued use of masks in public and closed crowded places, and enforcement of other Covid-appropriate behaviour. With a decline in the number of active cases, people have become lax in taking precautions, he said.

“With relaxations in place and cases having come down, we have to aim for virus suppression and prevent resurgence. At this stage, it would be extremely important to follow the five-fold strategy of Covid-appropriate behaviour, test-track-treat and vaccination,” he said.

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Covid-appropriate behaviour includes mandatory use of masks, hand hygiene, social distancing and proper ventilation of closed spaces.

However, with the easing of restrictions in some states, there is crowding in markets and absence of Covid-appropriate behaviour, leading to local increases in a few districts or a stagnation or erratic number of positives in some districts.

To sustainably contain the spread of the infection, it is necessary to persist with test-track-treat and maintain the testing rate.

While daily cases have fallen below 800 in the State — less than 1 per cent of those tested — the situation remains dynamic and requires a close watch for early signs of a surge in cases or positivity rates, he said.

Radhakrishnan urged the collectors to act at the micro-level to curb any rise in cases through local containment measures, as per Ministry of Health and Family Welfare guidelines.

Published on November 25, 2021

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