Tamil Nadu suggests vaccination for elderly

Tamil Nadu has suggested to the Centre to allow vaccination of the elderly, along with frontline workers and healthcare providers, according to Health Secretary J. Radhakrishnan.

“We have created a session to cover 100 persons. If 40 or 60 healthcare providers come and frontline workers will be covered from February 1, there is still a gap. We can give priority to the elderly who are willing to get vaccinated. Permission can be granted for a State like Tamil Nadu. Experts are of the view that instead of vaccinating the elderly in the third phase, they can be inoculated simultaneously now. We have made this suggestion to the Centre, and they will look into it,” Dr. Radhakrishnan told reporters on Saturday.

He said vaccination would continue for healthcare providers/workers, along with frontline workers.

“This is not the last day of vaccination for healthcare workers. If they do not take the vaccine on their turn, they will go down the list,” he said.

Many persons avoided taking Covaxin as it was in phase-3 trials and preferred Covishield, he said. “But now, the trend has changed. Many are coming forward to take Covaxin. Both vaccines are safe,” he said, adding that there had been no complications so far.

“We are starting vaccination for frontline workers from February 1. We have covered one lakh persons so far, and have a stock to vaccinate six lakh persons,” he said. Noting that the level of vaccination was improving in the State, he said the State had the capacity to vaccinate nearly 16,000 persons a day. “At times, there are unverified news on WhatsApp or some of them want to wait and see. Healthcare providers are being prioritised not to test the vaccine but because they are at the forefront of COVID-19 care,” he said.

“The vaccination coverage of one lakh is good but we have achieved it slowly. We hope we will improve gradually,” he said, adding that the Centre would continue supplying the vaccines to the State.

He said that on an average, 27 districts were reporting fewer than 15 COVID-19 cases a day. “The focus is on virus suppression to bring the number of cases down to zero in these districts. The other aim is to reduce mortality. We had 129 deaths on August 15, and the number had declined to five or six now owing to the efforts taken by medical teams. The aim is to achieve zero fatalities,” he said.

On poor compliance with mask-wearing, the Health Secretary said shops and market areas were totally mask-less. “We should not be complacent because only 500 persons are testing positive for COVID-19,” he said. It was important to take steps to prevent the next wave of infections in the next two months, he said.

The Health Secretary visited a 42-year-old woman from Erode district who was diagnosed to have ascending aortic aneurysm with dilated aortic root and severe aortic regurgitation, left renal artery stenosis and uncontrolled hypertension. She was referred to Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital (RGGGH) here for further management in November. She had suffered from COVID-19 pneumonia in October.

She was admitted to the hospital again three weeks ago in the department of cardiovascular and thoracic surgery. A surgery was performed on January 22. A team, headed by A. Sivaraman, performed a valve sparing aortic root remodelling with ascending aortic replacement-David’s procedure.

In this, the diseased aneurysmal segment of aorta was excised and replaced with a tube graft. This was designed into a trifoliate shape and sutured to form the aortic root followed by the repair of the damaged aortic valve and re-implantation of the coronary vessels supplying the heart to the graft.

The patient recovered well in the post-operative period, and is awaiting discharge.

RGGGH Dean E. Theranirajan was present.

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