The administration of free COVID-19 vaccine booster doses for those aged 18-59 came to an end on Friday. Overall, Tamil Nadu has so far covered only about 21% of the eligible population — across all categories — with the precautionary doses.
The Centre, in July, announced the administration of free precautionary doses for 75 days to all persons aged above 18 at government vaccination centres. Till then, free booster doses were available only for healthcare workers, front-line workers and persons aged above 60 at government centres, while paid vaccination was available in the private sector for the others. The free booster doses for persons aged 18-59 at government centres ended on Friday, Director of Public Health and Preventive Medicine T. S. Selvavinayagam said.
“The 60-plus population will get the booster doses...every Wednesday at all government institutions free of cost,” he said.
However, only 21.38% of the eligible population have so far received the precautionary doses in the State, according to data with the Directorate. The uptake was the lowest in the age group of 18-59 as only 10.90% have taken the booster doses.
Persons aged 60 and above have accounted for the highest coverage: 73.66% of them have received the booster doses. The coverage is below 50% among healthcare and front-line workers. While 44.08% of the healthcare workers have received the booster doses, 43.71% of the front-line workers have been covered so far.
“Youngsters are not serious about the booster vaccination. They may have milder infection but they are the potential spreaders of infection because of their mobility. Elderly persons who reside with them are at more risk,” Dr. Selvavinayagam said.