Districts with low seroprevalence to get more doses, says Health Minister
A total of 79 lakh doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been allocated to Tamil Nadu for August. Of these, 17 lakh doses would go to the private sector, while the rest would be used by the State government, Health Minister Ma. Subramanian said.
“So far, the government has received a total of 2,25,33,760 doses of vaccines, of which 2,18,31,183 doses have been administered. As of Monday night, we had 12,45,957 doses in hand. Private hospitals have received a total of 19,47,380 doses, of which 15,80,885 have been administered. The private sector has 3,66,495 doses in hand. In total, the government and private sectors have administered 2,34,12,068 doses,” he told reporters on the sidelines of the World Breastfeeding Week celebrations at the Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital on Tuesday.
Noting that there was no scarcity of vaccines, he said the State had already received two consignments from the Centre’s pool for the month. “We received 3,73,000 doses of Covaxin yesterday evening. This will be for people who have already taken the first dose and are waiting for the second dose. We are prioritising such people,” he added.
Referring to the phase-III serosurvey, he said Chennai had a seroprevalence of 82%, while Virudhunagar had a seropositivity of 84%. “Many districts have seroprevalence of 60% to 70%. We have decided to send additional vaccines to districts with low seroprevalence. The seropositivity was 37% in Erode, 43% in Coimbatore and 46% in Tiruppur,” he added.
He said the views and advice provided by medical experts, IIT-Madras and the All India Institute of Medical Sciences were taken into consideration without going into a debate on whether there would be a third wave of COVID-19. “Already, AIIMS doctors have said that predicting that children will be affected in the third wave was only a guess. Nevertheless, we have set up paediatric COVID-19 wards and intensive care units in all government medical college hospitals and government hospitals,” he said.
The task force headed by former Health Secretary R. Poornalingam is also assessing the COVID-19 situation in the State, he said. “We are taking measures to prevent a third wave, and if it occurs, we are prepared to handle it,” he said.
On genomic sequencing to identify coronavirus variants, he said the State regularly sent samples lifted from cluster areas to InStem, Bengaluru, for whole genome sequencing. “In the case where 40 children tested positive for COVID-19 in Uthiramerur, we sent samples for genome sequencing, and 32 samples returned positive for the Delta variant. Only 10 persons have tested positive for the Delta plus variant till date,” he said.
The Health Department was working towards starting genome sequencing to identify variants, while an existing laboratory at the Tamil Nadu Dr. MGR Medical University was being upgraded, he said.
He said following the marginal rise in cases, they had inspected screening of persons at the international and domestic airports. “Travellers from Kerala will need an RT-PCR test report from August 5,” he said. To a query on bringing in such checks for travellers from Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, he said cases had dropped in those States.
“Kerala has been recording nearly 20,000 cases a day. Such decisions are based on the number of COVID-19 cases and positivity rate in the States. Our positivity rate is also low at 1.2%,” he said.
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