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Tamil Nadu is the only state to do 100% RT-PCR tests: Harsh Vardhan

Our Bureau Chennai | Updated on January 08, 2021

Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan and Tamil Nadu Health Minister Vijaya Baskar at the dry run of Covid-19 vaccination waiting room facilities at the Rajiv Gandhi General Hospital in Chennai   -  Bijoy Ghosh

The Covid-19 vaccination programme will begin very shortly across the country, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said here without giving a date.

“We are happy that we have developed the vaccine in such a short period. We have now given an emergency use licence. On January 2, we did a dry run in almost 125 districts. Today, we are doing it across the country except in the three States, which did it earlier,” he said after reviewing Tamil Nadu’s Covid-19 vaccine dry-run drill on Friday.

After meeting the Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami, Vardhan visited the Omandurar Multi Super Speciality Hospital in Chennai and reviewed the dry run and facilities.

“In the first phase, the frontline workers, sanitary workers, medical practitioners and defence personnel will get priority. Later, people above 50 years with co-morbidities will be vaccinated,” he said adding, “We have ensured that every detail is conveyed from the national level down to the grassroots,” he said.

Lauding the efforts of Tamil Nadu government for the work done during the pandemic, Vardhan said the State government and the State health department deserved the highest appreciation for the good work they have done.

“The State has been conducting 100 per cent RT-PCR tests, meticulous testing, tracking and management, he said.

The dry run is to test various mechanisms for Covid-19 vaccination roll-out in the health system. It will also help to assess the operational feasibility of using the Co-WIN application.

Vardhan also visited the General Medical store depot where the vaccines would be stored before being sent to various centres for carrying out the vaccinations. He also saw the Covid-19 vaccine dry run at the Apollo Vaccination Centre of Apollo Hospitals.

The Union Minister said that in 2019, the Union Cabinet decided to have 75 more medical colleges converted from district hospitals in the country. In Tamil Nadu, 11 medical colleges were given approval and foundation stones were laid in the beginning of 2020.

“I have requested the Chief Minister to keep the commitment to the health sector at the highest level,” he said.

“I have also asked him to focus a little more on tuberculosis (TB) elimination. We want some of the States that have the potential and capability to eliminate TB by 2025. I have high hopes that Tamil Nadu could be one of those States that can do even before that. Examples like this can be showcased to others, who can emulate Tamil Nadu,” he said.

Published on January 08, 2021

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