As of Wednesday, the State received 17,57,780 doses of COVID-19 vaccines, and vaccinated 4,14,741 persons. But according to details available with DT Next, the State Vaccine Stores (SVS) currently have a stock of only 4,59,500 doses of Covishield and 87,360 doses of Covaxin. That is, even after factoring in 15-20 per cent wastage, the availability of more than 7 lakh doses remain unclear. While officials claimed that vaccines were available in various cold storages across the State, many private individuals confirmed that they received offers from their friends, especially hospital staff, to get vaccinated with their families. “My family and I got the first dose of Covishield from a private facility near Mogappair, as we had to travel to areas that have COVID cases,” Johnson, a businessman from Mogappair, told DT Next.
Doctors at private hospitals said they have been offering to vaccinate family members, too. “Though the vaccination is done after registering on Co-WIN app, healthcare and frontline workers’ family members need not register, as the vials that would otherwise go waste are being given to them,” said a healthcare staff from a hospital in Vadapalani.
A doctor at the cardiothoracic department of Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital (RGGGH) claimed that while government hospitals do not entertain vaccination without registration, private hospitals can present family members and even acquaintances as workers, and get them vaccinated.
“Healthcare workers in private hospitals can grant vaccines to acquaintances, relatives and others. Many of them are presented as hospital staff. This can be as easy as getting medicines from a pharmacy,” said Dr GR Ravindranath, secretary, Doctors’ Association for Social Equality.
However, Dr TS Selvavinayagam, Director of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, said the mismatch in vaccine numbers was because they were in cold storage units and district-level storage units across the State. “Close to 4.6 lakh doses are in State storage facilities, while others are distributed to the districts as they have storage and handling capability,” he said.
Health Secretary J Radhakrishnan said Tamil Nadu has about 12 lakh vaccine doses in different locations.