Tamil Nadu

Precaution dose uptake lagging in Tamil Nadu

The uptake of the precaution dose of COVID-19 vaccine is low among healthcare workers, frontline workers and the elderly with co-morbidities in the State. Since its rollout on January 10, only 81,369 persons have received the precaution dose in the State. Now, the Health Department is all set to shoot off reminders through SMS and urge hospital heads to ensure that their eligible staff get vaccinated with the precaution dose.

According to data availed from the Directorate of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, overall, 36,27,041 persons — 5,65,218 healthcare workers (HCW), 9,78,023 frontline workers (FLW) and 20,82,800 persons aged above 60 with co-morbidities were eligible for the precaution dose in the State.

The coverage was the lowest among the elderly with co-morbidities. Only 1.31% of them — 27,389 persons — received the precaution dose. A total of 23,603 FLWs, accounting for 2.41%, and 30,377 HCWs, accounting for 5.37%, have received the precaution dose so far.

Overall target

Of the overall target, 4 lakh persons were eligible for vaccination for the precaution dose on the day the drive was launched. A total of 10,75,351 persons would be eligible for the precaution dose in the whole of January. Anyone who received the second dose prior to April 14, 2021 were eligible for the booster.

According to health officials, the precaution dose uptake was poor. “People have not understood the seriousness and importance of vaccination,” said T.S. Selvavinayagam, Director of Public Health and Preventive Medicine.

In fact, officials expected better acceptance for the precaution dose especially among HCWs and FLWs. “We will be pushing a little harder now after the festival season, directly requesting the heads of each institution, including private ones, to ensure that eligible members are vaccinated. They need to understand that they have the potential for exposure every moment,” he said.

E. Theranirajan, dean of the Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital, said they were asking all eligible healthcare workers to get the precaution dose. “We have asked all department heads for a list of persons who are due for the precaution dose. Around 1,000 of them are eligible as of now,” he said.

For the elderly with co-morbidities, Dr. Selvavinayagam said family members and friends should motivate and bring them to the vaccination centre. There was no need for any certification or documents, he added.

To set reminders for the precaution dose, the Directorate has planned to send SMS through the Co-WIN portal. “The SMS will be sent three days before the due day, on the due day and again after three days. This will be for both the second dose and precaution dose hold-outs,” he said.

Daily increment

Health Minister Ma. Subramanian on Monday told reporters that very few had received the precaution dose. Noting that only 81,369 of the 4 lakh persons got the booster shot, he said, “Only one in five persons has received the dose. This shows that even HCWs and FLWs did not opt for the booster dose. Those who received the second dose prior to April 14, 2021 should get the precaution dose….The number of eligible persons will increase to 10 lakh by February 1. The number of eligible persons will keep increasing everyday.”

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Printable version | May 22, 2022 1:15:53 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/precaution-dose-uptake-lagging-in-tamil-nadu/article38284319.ece