Tamil Nadu recorded no deaths due to oxygen shortage during the second wave of COVID-19, wave, State Minister for Health Ma Subramanian said on Wednesday.
The Chief Minister M K Stalin took anti-COVID measures to ensure no such deaths, the Minister. "In Tamil Nadu, no one succumbed to the virus due to shortage of oxygen. That is the truth. There was a strong (COVID-19) regulation in place," the Medical and Family Welfare Minister told reporters at the Secretariat.
Subramanian was responding to a query on whether there were COVID-19 deaths for want of oxygen. "There was a shortage of oxygen in the State at the time when the Chief Minister assumed office on May 7. The oxygen available on that day was 230 metric tonne while the daily COVID-19 cases were 26,465," he said.
"Gradually, the cases rose to (the highest of) 36,184 cases on May 21 and the requirement for oxygen was over 500 metric tonne. At that time, efforts were made by the Chief Minister (M K Stalin) and we brought oxygen from Rourkela and Jamshedpur (via trains to meet the requirement)," he said.
"He (Chief Minister) took various measures and ensured there was no huge impact nor loss of lives due to oxygen shortage," he said.
On the vaccines, Subramanian said there would not be any shortage of doses over the next three days as the State received 5.42 lakh doses today. "Already, we have 6,27,470 doses in stock. This evening, we received 5,42,780 doses and we will be able to vaccinate people without any hurdles for the next three days," he said. He said the Centre has increased the allotment of doses to the State by another five lakh for this month. "For July, the Centre allotted 72 lakh doses to Tamil Nadu and 17 lakh vaccines to private hospitals. It has planned to send five lakh more doses to the State. That is satisfying news," he said.
Subramanian said the State government has planned to expand to other districts the free vaccination drive through private hospitals by utilising the corporate social responsibility funds of private companies. "We launched the drive in Coimbatore yesterday (July 20)," he said. "We will hold another meeting of private hospitals and companies from districts of Chennai, Kancheepuram, Vellore and Tiruvallur over the next two days", he said.
"There are also plans to take the vaccination programme to Tiruchirappalli, Tirunelveli and other districts. It is a big initiative," he said.
The Minister said the Health Department in the State has so far received nearly two crore vaccines till date. "Till date, 1,96,43,859 people have been vaccinated. We need 12 crore doses to provide the double-shot for six crore people in the State. We have received nearly two crore doses till date. We need 10 crore more of them," he said.
The Centre has told the Rajya Sabha that no deaths occurred due to lack of oxygen during the second wave of COVID-19 in the country. Following this, the Opposition Congress accused the Union Minister of State for Health Bharati Pravin Pawar of misleading Parliament of giving false information by stating there were no such fatalities.