For the present, the state government would continue to administer vaccines with the existing stock. The third phase of the COVID-19 vaccination in the country is scheduled to be launched on Saturday, amid record number of fresh daily infections. After covering senior citizens and those over 45 years with comorbidities and later all members in this age group, the third phase involving citizens aged 18 plus is slated to be rolled out tomorrow. Explaining the predicament, Tamil Nadu Health Secretary Dr J Radhakrishnan said, "instead of waiting till tomorrow (and disappoint people), I wish to clarify (now) that we are unsure when and how much out of 1.5 crore doses of vaccine sought by Tamil Nadu, will arrive." The state government has not yet received a reply from the Centre on the demand for vaccines.
Assuming the Central government would give its nod, the quantum that would be sanctioned to Tamil Nadu is yet to be known, he told reporters here. Expecting to cover the population between the ages of 18 and 44, Chief Minister K Palaniswami issued orders to procure 1.50 crore doses of COVID-19 vaccine doses, to facilitate the next phase of vaccination. The vaccines would be sourced by the Tamil Nadu Medical Services Corporation (TNMSC) and be provided free of cost.
"But we don't know how much and when the Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech will supply," Radhakrishnan said. SII's Covishield and Bharat Biotech's Covaxin are presently being used in the country's inoculation programme. The government is touch with these two companies, he said and added this was a peculiar problem being faced by several states in India. "We came out in the open we are in touch with SII and Bharat Biotech. We are expecting a green signal from the Centre," he said. Asked if the vaccination will not happen tomorrow, the secretary shot back, "we don't know if we will get (vaccines) tomorrow and how much."