Tamil Nadu

Export vaccines only after fully vaccinating all in the country: TN Health Minister urges Union Health Ministry

Health Minister Ma. Subramanian, along with Preetha Reddy, Vice Chairperson, Apollo Hospitals at the inauguration of the Apollo Simulation Centre in Chennai on Tuesday   | Photo Credit: Vedhan M

The Union Health Ministry should consider exporting COVID-19 vaccines only after fully vaccinating all eligible individuals in the country, Tamil Nadu Health Minister Ma. Subramanian said on Tuesday.

A day after the Union Health Minister announced that export of vaccines manufactured in the country would resume in October, Mr. Subramanian said of India’s total population of nearly 139 crore, 70% were aged above 18 years, meaning about 97.30 crore were eligible for COVID-19 vaccines. Considering that two doses should be administered, 194.60 crore doses were required in total to fully vaccinate the eligible population.

“As per data from the Government of India, 80 crore persons have so far received the vaccines. Of this, 61 crore have received the first dose...So, only one-third have received the first dose. The country requires nearly 115 crore more doses,” he said.

A number of countries were taking steps to vaccinate persons aged 12 to 18 years, he said, adding: “India is yet to plan vaccination of persons 12 to 18 years. At the national-level, 115 crore doses are required, and we need to expand vaccination for 12 to 18 years. In such a situation, how will it be appropriate to export vaccines?” the Minister said.

He pointed out that no vaccination camps were held in Tamil Nadu on Monday and Tuesday due to scarcity of vaccines. “The State has the infrastructure to vaccinate seven to eight lakh persons every day,” he said. The Minister recalled that the two mega vaccination camps held on September 12 and 19 exceeded their respective targets and administered 28.91 lakh doses and 16.43 lakh doses respectively.

“The State requires a total of 12.12 crore doses to vaccinate the eligible population of 6.06 crore persons. So far, we have administered 4.37 crore doses, and require more than 7.5 crore doses,” he told reporters shortly after inaugurating a simulation centre at Apollo Speciality Hospitals on Tuesday.

On behalf of Tamil Nadu and its people, he requested the Prime Minister and Union Health Minister to postpone their aim of exporting vaccines and take steps to vaccinate all eligible persons in the country.

Speaking at the event, he said nobody would worry if vaccines are exported after all eligible persons are inoculated in the country. “When vaccines are the only solution today, the country has managed to administer less than one-third of the doses compared to what is required...This issue should not be approached with a commercial or any profit angle,” he said.

Simulation centre

Sudha Seshayyan, vice chancellor of Tamil Nadu Dr. MGR Medical University said simulation centres were a boon for anyone concerned with the healing sciences. She hoped that Apollo Hospitals would develop simulation modules adaptable for the Indian environment.

In a video message, Prathap C. Reddy, chairman, Apollo Hospitals Group, said that simulation would help in doing procedures with precision and accuracy. Preetha Reddy, vice chairperson, Apollo Hospitals Group, said India has the potential to provide the largest number of skilled workforce for the rest of developed nations.

Apollo Simulation Centre is equipped with computerised simulators to provide hands-on training for postgraduate medical students as well as assist practising doctors to refine their procedural skills. K. Ganapathi, Member of Legislative Assembly, M. Muralidharan, Director of Medical Education, Apollo Hospitals, Southern region and Thilaka Muthiah, clinical lead, Apollo Simulation Centre were present.

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Printable version | Oct 28, 2021 11:48:47 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/export-vaccines-only-after-fully-vaccinating-all-in-the-country-tn-health-minister-urges-union-health-ministry/article36586642.ece

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