‘Second shot can be had in any hospital’

Doctors have been told to give priority to those seeking second dose: Health Minister Vijayabaskar

The second shot of COVID-19 vaccine, whether Covishield or Covaxin, can be had in any hospital, irrespective of where the first dose was administered, Health Minister C. Vijayabaskar said on Monday. Healthcare professionals were instructed to ensure that no person seeking the second dose was turned away for want of vaccine, he told The Hindu.

“We have about seven lakh vaccines and sufficient stock has been made available in all districts. With the current availability, we can sustain about 1.15 lakh vaccinations a day for at least five or six days. Constant efforts are on to get a continuous supply of vaccines,” he said.

Instructions given

“Doctors have been told to give priority to people coming for the second dose though adequate numbers of vaccines are available,” the Minister said.

The Minister said senior doctors, who studied the virulence and profile of the new variant in the second wave, had concluded that it originated from the United Kingdom.

“Now, young people are coming with breathlessness since the illness is progressing rapidly, affecting the lungs. Doctors are saying this variant is from London. It is still manageable and we can effectively control the spread of this variant if people cooperate by staying at home unless their stepping out is essential,” he said.

Oxygen availability

Dr. Vijayabaskar said Tamil Nadu’s position with regard to the availability of oxygen was comfortable.

The requirement of oxygen might go up since in many cases, the first or second stage of illness was breathlessness. Even after discharge, many patients had lung fibrosis, requiring oxygen support till complete recovery.

Asked about non-essential commercial establishments remaining open, violating the lockdown conditions that came into effect from 4 a.m. on Monday, he said people, particularly from the business fraternity, should cooperate with the government in the management of the pandemic.

“We are aware that livelihood is important. But saving lives is even more important. People are seeing what is happening in Maharashtra, Delhi, Gujarat and other States. Instead of allowing such a situation in Tamil Nadu, people should stand up against the virus by strictly adhering to the safety guidelines,” he said.

On contact tracing, which was effective in the first wave, not being implemented now, Dr. Vijayabaskar said the number of cases was so high that it would be difficult to do contact tracing in a full-fledged manner.

However, the Greater Chennai Corporation had revived the system of door-to door screening.

Compared to the first wave, people were now more aware of the risks and were turning up at hospitals with mild symptoms.

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