Tamil Nadu

T.N. sets April 25 deadline to vaccinate all aged over 45

CHENNAI: 02/04/2021: FOR CITY : A Residnet taking ashot of Vaccin at the PHC in Anna Nagar on Friday. Photo : PICHUMANI K / THE HINDU  

The Tamil Nadu government has directed health officials to ensure that all those aged 45 and above get vaccinated against COVID-19 by April 25, as part of the ongoing vaccination festival.

In an order sent to the Deputy Directors of Health Services (DDHS) of all districts, the city medical officer of the Greater Chennai Corporation and others, the Director of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, T.S. Selvavinayagam, said a decision was taken to conduct the vaccination festival from April 11 to cover all beneficiaries aged above 45.

“All DDHS are hereby instructed to ensure the coverage of beneficiaries aged over 45 in your districts immediately, and complete their vaccination before April 25, while ensuring minimum wastage of vaccines ... Failure to vaccinate eligible beneficiaries in time, particularly when cases are rising again, will attract disciplinary action,” he said.

Pointing out that Tamil Nadu had the poorest performance at 10% vaccination for those aged over 45, he said the list of beneficiaries as per the Population Health Register was being sent to all cities/districts to facilitate the drive.

Asking DDHS of all districts to prepare a 14-day action plan to achieve the vaccination target, Dr. Selvavinayagam called for the mapping of beneficiaries aged 45 and above to the nearest vaccination centres after ensuring the availability of doses at all cold chain points.

Mr. Selvavinayagam asked health officials to vaccinate all those aged over 45 attending the outpatient units. All vehicles attached to the Rashtriya Bal Swasthya Karyakram (RBSK) of the National Health Mission should be equipped with sufficient vaccines and manpower, as per the Central government’s guidelines, and linked to the primary health centres in all districts to ensure 100% coverage of beneficiaries, he said.

When asked about the progress made on the intensified vaccination drive, Dr. Selvavinayagam told The Hindu that the objective was to persuade the beneficiaries by creating awareness that the vaccine is the only available tool to beat the pandemic.

“We can’t force the people to get the shot...we can only request them. Adequate manpower and infrastructure are in place to successfully achieve the target. The supply of vaccines will be ensured and at the same time, effective steps have been taken to make sure that vaccines don’t go waste,” he said.

Manpower shortage

Meanwhile, sources in government hospitals said there was a shortage of manpower to manage COVID-19 patients, since the sudden onset of the second wave had caught healthcare systems unawares.

“Third-year postgraduate students have gone on study leave since their examinations are fast approaching. We are managing with first- and second-year postgraduates. On an average, there are 500 COVID-19 patients in each of the four major government hospitals in Chennai. One batch of doctors/paramedical staff deployed on duty in COVID-19 wards have to be quarantined for at least a week before they are sent to normal wards again... we are finding it difficult to manage with the available manpower since other specialities like operations in emergency, intensive medical care units, surgeries, cardiology, maternity, etc. have to be sustained,” a senior health official said.

While technicians and paramedical staff recruited during the first wave have been posted in their native districts, the vacancies created by their transfers have not been filled, a senior doctor, who preferred not to be quoted, said, adding that many doctors had opted out of COVID-19 duties, citing co-morbidities.

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Printable version | May 17, 2021 6:09:05 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/tn-sets-april-25-deadline-to-vaccinate-all-aged-over-45/article34321389.ece

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