This, after the poor percentage of the second dose, as the state has till Wednesday administered second dose only to 26 per cent of its population and is lagging behind other South Indian states like Kerala (33 per cent), Karnataka (33 per cent), Andhra Pradesh (36 per cent) and Telangana (28 per cent). It is also behind the national average which is at 29 per cent.
Sources in the Tamil Nadu health department said that the low percentage of second dose of vaccine is a matter of concern. The health department is attributing it to hesitancy among the rural population.
Many people, especially in rural Tamil Nadu are of the belief that one dose of vaccine was enough to ward off the pandemic and hence there is a hesitancy among the people for a second dose even as the state health department has conducted several drives to increase the awareness.
Interestingly, Tamil Nadu is above the national average in terms of the first dose of vaccine. The state has vaccinated 73 per cent of its population with the first dose while the national average is 70 per cent.
The state health minister Ma Subramanian told IANS, "Around 57 lakh people are due for the second dose and in the sixth mega vaccination camp to be held on Saturday, we are expecting to administer the vaccine to around 20 to 25 lakh people and have directed officials to concentrate more on the second dose."
The state has around 48 lakh doses of vaccine in stock at present and the health department is expected to administer a record number of vaccines during the sixth mega vaccination camp to be held on Saturday. The state is for the first time organising a mega vaccination camp as there were reports that many people were hesitant to take vaccine on Sunday fearing that it would spoil their holiday mood.
State health department officials are conducting several awareness programmes across rural Tamil Nadu to bring in maximum number of people for the mega vaccination camps. The state is conducting the sixth mega vaccination camp at 50,000 centres.