In a novel initiative, a million people in Tamil Nadu state in southern India would get free COVID-19 vaccines at private hospitals before the end of this year
In a novel initiative, a million people in Tamil Nadu state in southern India would get free COVID-19 vaccines at private hospitals before the end of this year. About 1500 companies in Tamil Nadu have pledged to fund this drive through their corporate social responsibility (CSR) plans. They will give ₹ 75 crore/ 750 million rupees to begin with. Chief Minister MK Stalin launched this programme in Chennai's Kauvery Hospital on Wednesday, where a few hundred people had gathered to take vaccines, NDTV reported.
A Chennai resident, Meena, got her first free dose at a private hospital, minutes after she walked in. This is the Tamil Nadu government's new strategy to use the 25 per cent vaccines allocated to private hospitals. So far only 5 per cent had been used.
Private hospitals would also offer free doses as per their CSR (corporate social responsibility) plans, besides waiving the service fee for the sponsored vaccination.
"First we would vaccinate all employees, their families and communities around," CII Tamil Nadu chairman Dr S Chandrakumar told NDTV.
Gagandeep Singh Bedi, commissioner of Greater Chennai Corporation, said, "We want to go for a target of one lakh (100,000) every day. We have been going around 30,000 to 40,000 daily."
In another first, Tamil Nadu has achieved the highest extra doses inoculating nearly six lakh (600,000) additional people. Every vial with 10 doses has a little more called overfill, factoring in wastage.
Health workers in the state have managed to inoculate 11 or 12 people with zero wastage and full utilisation of overfill, NDTV said.
Tamil Nadu's population is over 60 million. It has so far administered a little over 20 million doses. Only 6.5 per cent people in these state have taken both doses.
The initial vaccine hesitancy has slowed down in the state. Now the demand is high and the state says it can administer 800,000 doses every day. However, it gets only around 200,000 doses due to short supply of the vaccine across India as production from the two vaccine manufacturers - Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech - have not been able to keep pace with the demand. The government has already imported Sputnik vaccines from Russia and is in talks with Moderna and Pfizer of the US. (SAM)