Chennai: The hesitation to receive vaccination doses continues among people and currently 3.54 crore in Tamil Nadu are yet to receive the COVID-19 precautionary dose even after completing the six-month period after the second dose, State Minister Ma Subramanian said on Sunday.
The minister for medical and family welfare after inspecting the 32 mega vaccination camp held across Tamil Nadu said, the total number of people who are yet to receive the vaccination shots including both first and second dose increased to 4.21 crore.
“Nearly 31.78 lakh people are yet to get first dose while 95.46 lakh people need to receive second dose. There are 3.54 crore people who are eligible to receive the precautionary booster dose despite having completed the mandatory six-month period after receiving the second dose,” he told reporters.
Referring to government-run healthcare facilities, including primary health centres, hospitals in districts which administer free vaccination doses, he said, “Even if it is available for free at government-run centres, people continue to hesitate to receive the vaccination shots.”
Batting for more vaccination among the public, he said, the BA.4 and BA.5 variants of omicron were spreading very fast world-over and every 24 hours there were about 50-60 people who are affected by that variant.
“Those people who were vaccinated did not suffer any serious illness even if they tested positive for BA.4 and BA.5 variants. Therefore, getting vaccinated is the only solution. Currently, BA.4 and BA.5 variants has spread in 110 countries and people without any hesitancy should take the jabs,” he said.
Subramanian said in Tamil Nadu, 95.37 per cent of the people received first dose, while 87.63 per cent got the second dose.
The Centre has allowed states to administer precautionary booster dose free of charge till September 30, he said.
“After September 30, it will be charged at private healthcare facilities for about Rs 386.25 a dose, and since there is an opportunity to receive the doses free of charge currently, people should come forward and take the shots without any hesitancy,” he said.
On the monkeypox disease, Subramanian said the government was leaving no stone turned as health department officials have intensified screening in all vital locations of the state after Kerala reported cases recently.
“Authorities at all the four international airports have been instructed to intensify screening of people and also conduct RT-PCR tests by randomly selecting two per cent of passengers. We have also stepped up the measures to monitor people in 13 locations that border with Kerala. People who arrive from Kerala by road also undergo tests at these locations,” he said.
To a query about passengers arriving to the state by trains, he said currently, those passengers arriving from Kerala undergo screening for monkeypox and COVID-19 at the railway stations.
Referring to players coming to Chennai to take part in the 44th Chess Olympiad scheduled to begin in neighbouring Mamallapuram on July 28, he said, “any individual arriving from overseas needs to undergo screening for monkeypox disease. Thermal screening and RT-PCR tests are also conducted for them…”