With the country all set to roll out the world’s biggest vaccination programme on Saturday with over 3 lakh healthcare workers to be inoculated on the first day of the much-anticipated drive, which the government said is “probably the beginning of the end” of COVID-19, Tamil Nadu’s vaccine drive will be flagged off by Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami at Government Rajaji Hospital in Madurai on Saturday.
Also, top 10 government and private doctors in the State including the Dean of Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital Dr E Theranirajan, Dr Prathap C Reddy, Chairman, Apollo Hospitals Group, besides others, will be among the inaugural batch of healthcare professionals to get the first dose.
Vials containing 5 ml of the vaccine will be administered to 10 people (0.5 ml each) using single use syringes. “Top 10 healthcare professionals in the State have volunteered to get the shots to help dismiss rumours surrounding the vaccines. Those who have recovered from COVID can get vaccinated but those who are currently affected should refrain from getting administered until recovery,” Health Minister C Vijaya Baskar said.
In Chennai, Director of Tamil Nadu Medical Services Corporation Dr P Umanath will inaugurate the drive at RGGGH. Dr Theranirajan said that he has volunteered to be administered with Covaxin as it would set an example and boost others’ confidence to come forward and vaccinate themselves. Several frontline workers claimed they have voluntarily registered for Covaxin and are not under any kind of pressure.
Health officials said that around six lakh healthcare workers will be administered the vaccine in stages. The initiative will take off in 166 sites across TN which include 164 government centres and two private facilities, Apollo Hospitals and MGM Healthcare, in Chennai.
In Chennai, 30,491 beneficiaries have registered with the Co-WIN app, highest in the State until January 13 and will be given the shots in 12 health care centres. A total of 2,931 health care workers have registered in Chengalpattu while Kancheepuram district has 925 beneficiaries and Tiruvallur has 959 registrations so far. Health officials said after vaccination for health care workers was over, registration of other frontline workers would commence. “The campaign may go on for months till every eligible person is vaccinated,” said director of public health Dr Selvavinayagam.
Meanwhile, 3,006 session sites across all states and UTs will be virtually connected during the launch at 10.30 am by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
On the eve of the roll-out, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan reviewed the preparations and visited the dedicated COVID control room set up at the Nirman Bhavan premises of the Health Ministry.