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TN lags behind nine States in Covid-19 vaccination drive

G Balachandar Chennai | Updated on April 29, 2021

Crowd seen at the Omandurar Government Hospital in Chennai   -  Bijoy Ghosh

Lack of supply, people’s hesitation cited as reasons for slow progress

When it comes to healthcare Tamil Nadu has always been cut above the rest – be it in terms of infrastructure, public facilities and accessibility due to a strong network.

While the State also managed the Covid-19 crisis well, it is, however, lagging behind in vaccinationg. As of Wednesday (8 am), Tamil Nadu had received 65.3 lakh vaccine doses and consumed (including wastages) 61.7 lakh doses.

At least 9 States – Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat, West Bengal, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar and Kerala - are ahead. Maharashtra is the top state with total consumption (including wastages) of 1.53 crore doses.

Also, in terms of wastage, Tamil Nadu is number two with its vaccine wastage at 8.83 per cent. Lakshadweep had highest wastage ratio at 9.76 per cent.

“I think the acceptance of vaccination is slowly picking up in Tamil Nadu and there have been talks of short supply. But I don’t think anybody who is going to hospitals and healthcare centres are being sent away due to absence of vaccines. We are still able to manage on a day-to-day basis now. But in the long run, there could be supply-demand issue,” says Hari Thiagarajan, Chairman, CII Tamil Nadu State Council & Executive Director, Thiagarajar Mills

He notes that age restriction in the current vaccine drive could also be a reason for slow progress in the State. With a significantly young population, a lot of people are waiting for May 1. “For example, we have about 1,500 staff and only 10 per cent is qualified under the current vaccine programme as the rest are younger than 45 years,” he added.

Hesitancy

Meanwhile, Tamil Nadu faces a peculiar problem of people refusing to take shots of Covishield vaccine, which has been available in plenty in most of the hospitals and public health centres.

According to Health Department Officials people above 45 years, who are eligible as of now, are not keen on taking Covishield and are waiting Covaxin.

Healthcare officials reckon that both the available vaccines – Covishield and Covaxin - are effective in combating the infections and help prevent any damage to lungs.

Industry participation

As people in the age group of 18-44 will be given doses from May 1, there is also a view that industry drive for vaccination has to improve a lot more and they should cover workers’ families also.

“Each company should take responsibility and ensure vaccination for the entire workforce from May 1. We need to create better awareness as plenty of positive data is available on the benefit of vaccination,” says Prabhu Damodharan, Convenor, Coimbatore-based Indian Texpreneurs Federation.

KE Raghunathan, Convenor , Consortium of Indian Associations stated that the Central government could allow the corporates to use their CSR money for vaccinating their employees. “This can also reduce government’s burden,” he added

Published on April 28, 2021

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