12,494 more persons inoculated in State

A total of 12,494 persons — 10,391 healthcare workers and 2,103 frontline workers — received COVID-19 vaccines in Tamil Nadu on Thursday. Of them, 10,184 healthcare workers and 2,101 frontline workers received Covishield, while 207 healthcare workers and two frontline workers received Covaxin. As many as 1,45,650 persons have been vaccinated thus far. The vaccination was conducted at 564 session sites. The day’s total capacity was 81,600.

Harmander Singh, Additional Chief Secretary to the Government, Municipal Administration and Water Supply Department, and S. Divyadharshini, Joint Commissioner of Health, Greater Chennai Corporation, received vaccination at the Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital.

Noting that there were 664 urban local bodies in the State, Mr. Singh appealed to all frontline workers to get vaccinated. In the Greater Chennai Corporation, 1.5 lakh employees were registered.

Health Secretary J. Radhakrishnan told reporters that 5.62 lakh staff members of the Health Department had registered themselves for vaccination on the Co-WIN portal. “However, some of them have registered in two places. So, roughly, we are expecting around 4.75 lakh beneficiaries. So far, 2.62 lakh frontline workers have been registered, of whom 1.54 lakh are attached to the Police Department and 1.06 lakh to the Municipal Administration and Revenue Departments,” he said.

He pointed out there was “unnecessary hesitation” among many persons in the priority groups. “There is no need for such hesitation… Vaccines are very important. A city in Brazil that had 76% herd immunity is witnessing cases again. We are not satisfied that the cases are around 500 a day in Tamil Nadu. We have reduced the case load from 7,000 to 500 in Tamil Nadu and the number of deaths to less than five a day. But the cases have remained in the range of 500 in the last 10 days… There are ups and downs owing to clusters arising from marriages and family functions,” he said.

Noting that one infected person could spread the infection to 100 more, he stressed the need to wear masks.

The Health Secretary said the State had sought advance permission from the Centre to start vaccination of the elderly. He said many elderly persons were willing to get vaccinated. “Persons in the priority groups should make use of the next one week. They will have no priority when the vaccination begins for the general public. Frontline workers can register up to February 7,” he said.

“We have increased the number of session sites from 166 to 440 and will increase it further, if needed. But the centres should be utilised. We noticed that in two districts, only one person took the vaccine on a Sunday, while two were vaccinated at another centre… It is important to make use of the opportunity to get vaccinated,” he said.

He hoped that the State’s present vaccination coverage of 25% would improve to 50%. “The Centre is reviewing the vaccination coverage. We have not got the permission to open registration for persons aged above 50 on the Co-WIN portal. As of now, we are covering frontline workers in the Police and Revenue Departments, municipalities, corporations and panchayat raj institutions,” he said.

“We have written to the Centre to include those who are on the frontline, such as journalists, the judiciary and teachers,” he said. He pointed out that the Nilgiris set an example for other districts, achieving 68% vaccination.

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