Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami is expected to launch the COVID-19 vaccine drive in TN from Madurai on January 16. The Centre on Saturday had announced that the vaccine administration drive would be launched after Pongal. Following the announcement, the State government decided to go ahead with launching the drive on the same day.
Palaniswami, who is set to inaugurate Jallikattu events in Madurai during Pongal, will also open the vaccine drive from the city, according to his itinerary
released on Sunday. Sources said that it has not yet been decided whether Tamil Nadu will receive Covaxin or Covishield or both. Health secretary Dr J Radhakrishnan said a meeting will be held by health secretaries and ministers on Monday (January 11) to finalise the modalities of the vaccination rollout. “At the meeting tomorrow with all Union secretaries, we will be given overarching guidelines that need to be followed, following which we will release the schedule that has been planned,” Radhakrishnan said.
In Tamil Nadu, the vaccination will be first rolled out to six lakh healthcare workers, of which approximately 4.5 lakh have already registered in the mobile app. “We hope to complete the first round of vaccinations within a week,” Radhakrishnan said. The rollout is expected to be held at all identified centres across TN at once, and regional distribution plans will be drafted following the meeting on January 11. The shots will be given first to healthcare workers, then frontline workers, and then the elderly, before being accessible to the general public.
VCK MP D Ravikumar, however, questioned the urgency of vaccination using Covaxin, despite reports of a volunteer’s death. “When Covaxin hasn’t even completed Phase-3 trial, what’s the urgency in launching it,” Ravi Kumar said.