Tamil Nadu

At least 1.41 lakh missed Covaxin second dose within six weeks

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At least 1,41,319 people in Tamil Nadu failed to get their second dose of Covaxin within the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR)-advised window of a maximum of six weeks as on June 13, an analysis of the State’s vaccination data showed.

According to the ICMR, the second dose can be taken from four to six weeks of getting the first dose. If those who failed to get the second dose in the minimum required window of four weeks is considered, the number is as high as 1.74 lakh.

The State had received a total of 16.82 lakh doses of Covaxin from the Union government and through its own procurement till June 9. Of these, the State administered 11.55 lakh first doses and 5.05 lakh second doses till June 13.

At least 1.41 lakh missed Covaxin second dose within six weeks

For the analysis, May 2 was taken as the reference point. A six-week period is from May 2 to June 13. Ideally, as per the ICMR guidelines, people who took Covaxin on May 2 must have taken their second dose by June 13.

Consequently, the total number of the second doses administered till June 13 must be at least as high as the first dose administered till May 2. However, while the State administered the first dose to 6,46,408 persons as on May 2, it administered the second dose to only 5,05,089 persons as on June 13. The difference of 1,41,319 is, therefore, the minimum number of persons who failed to get their second dose within the six-week period.

The actual number could be higher as the total second doses administered till June 13 may include many persons who took their first dose after May 2.

The progress of the administration of the second dose also showed that it was not proportionate to the sharp rise in the administration of the first dose in the past couple of weeks. This could mean the number of people missing their second dose could go up higher as the vaccination gains pace.

Giridhara R. Babu, Professor and Head, Life Course Epidemiology, at the Indian Institute of Public Health, Bengaluru, said that while no data were available on the efficacy of Covaxin, if the second dose was taken beyond six weeks, it was better still to take it even if it was delayed. He said the government must therefore prioritise second doses and do micro-planning to enumerate those in need of vaccination and associate them to a vaccination centre so that they could be easily tracked.

Health Secretary J. Radhakrishnan said there were two categories of people who missed their second dose — those who did not turn up and those who were willing to take the dose but there was no stock at the vaccination centre.

“To resolve both, we have asked all Deputy Directors in the districts and the Greater Chennai Corporation (GCC) to prioritise the second dose for those who missed owing to the non-availability of the vaccine,” he said.

“To trace those who did not turn up, we have asked [the authorities] to take the list of persons who missed the second dose and contact them for their second dose. We are also doing awareness campaigns on the need for taking both doses,” he said.

He added that with the gradual easing of vaccine supply anticipated from the second half of June, people in need of the second dose would not face any shortage.

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Printable version | Aug 5, 2021 2:38:38 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/at-least-141-lakh-missed-covaxin-second-dose-within-six-weeks/article34824744.ece

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