Vaccine hesitancy, shortage play spoilsport in TN

TE Raja Simhan Chennai | Updated on June 27, 2021

Last week, Tamil Nadu administered nearly 17 lakh Covid-19 vaccinations, an historic high but the numbers are nowhere near when compared with States like Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh which reported far higher numbers.

For instance, on June 24, the State reported the highest number of jabs with 4.32 lakh but on that day it was nearly half of what UP had reported.

While Tamil Nadu has a capacity to inoculate nearly 8 lakh every day, is vaccine hesitancy continuing to be a major reason for this or shortage of vaccine a reason or is it a combination of both that is contributing to the low jabs in the state? The reasons are a bit of both, says experts.

On Saturday, Maharashtra administered 7.38 lakh jabs; Madhya Pradesh had 10 lakh while Tamil Nadu reported 3.72 lakh. There was a similar trend for four days last week with Tamil Nadu reporting lesser numbers when compared with other States, according to data in public domain. “While there is still hesitancy among people in the rural areas, shortage of vaccine has been the main reason for the low number in Tamil Nadu when compared to other top States,” said a senior government official.


Top-5 cities

In Tamil Nadu, Chennai, Coimbatore, Madurai, Tiruchirappalli and Chengalpet are the top five cities that reported high vaccination numbers while districts such as Ariyalur, Ramanathapuram, Perambalur, Paramakuruchi and Cheyyar are in the bottom of the list, according to data. “Shortage of vaccines is now the main reason. Hesitancy is almost gone,” said Sumanth Raman, a professional doctor and a political analyst. “Whatever comes is being utilised immediately. Earlier, the stocks used to last for weeks,” he added.

State Health Minister M Subramanian on Saturday told newspersons that the State has a capacity to administer 7-8 lakh vaccines a day. However, the State does not get that many vaccines. “In the last few days, whatever vaccines that the State was provided, it was administered without any wastage,” he added. As on June 26, the State had totally vaccinated 1.44 crore persons. “We have picked up momentum last week,” he said.

The State was provided with 43 lakh vaccines in June of which 6 lakh vaccines were left. In July, the Centre is expected to release 71 lakh vaccines, he said. “Tamil Nadu has urged that vaccines should be provided as per population,” he added. There was a lot of wastage in the first wave but it has been significantly reduced in the second wave, said the Health Minister.

Published on June 27, 2021

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