CHENNAI: The Tamil Nadu health department is planning a major awareness blitz for the need to take precautionary vaccines against Covid-19 after the first and second doses.
Sources in the Tamil Nadu Public health department told IANS that the awareness drive will be conducted by roping in leading movie and TV stars of Tamil film industry. It may be noted that during the commencement of the vaccination drive in Tamil Nadu, people were reluctant to take the jab and most of these initial hiccups were overcome by awareness using film and TV stars.
According to the state public health department, only 12.7 per cent of eligible people in Tamil Nadu have taken the precautionary vaccine in the state. The department is worried that with Covid continuing to raise its fangs in the state, people not taking a precautionary dose of vaccine could add to the spread.
The department is particularly worried about the health status of high-risk people, including senior citizens with comorbidities.
The state public health department said that of the 4,05,63,607 people who are eligible for the booster dose as on August 20, a total of 51,69,621 people have inoculated themselves. This is roughly 12.74 per cent of the eligible population.
A senior official with the state public health department told IANS that even though the impact of Covid-19 on most people is now mild, the long-term complications associated with the disease have still not been fathomed and hence the need for booster dose for all citizens who are eligible.
Doctors said that long-term complications include cardiac and respiratory problems for those affected by Covid-19.
Dr. Suchithra Menon, a virologist with a leading Medical college at Madurai while speaking to IANS said, "It is almost certain that Covid-19 virus will be around for several years from now on and hence the booster doses are a necessity for people not to fall prey to the disease that may lead to long-term complications in health."
She said that following Covid appropriate behaviour, including wearing masks, safe distancing and regular sanitization of hands are the other major factors that should be regularly adopted in life to prevent further Covid spread.
People, who are affected with HIV, Tuberculosis, high blood pressure and diabetes, are at risk of contracting the disease again, and hence the department of Public health is in the process of increasing awareness among the people on the need to vaccinate themselves.
Doctors also said that the health department was also planning to rope in the services of youth for conducting door-to-door awareness regarding the necessity of a booster or precautionary dose of the Covid vaccine to prevent the further spread of the disease.