CHENNAI: Is it the beginning of the end for the pandemic? That was, indeed, the popular opinion in Tamil Nadu on Saturday, as the vaccination drive began in the auspicious Tamil month of Thai. A substantial 2,684 healthcare workers got vaccinated on Day-1, said the health department.
To instil confidence among masses, top doctors of the State got vaccinated on the very first day. The list includes, Manoj Murhekar, director of the National Institute of Epidemiology, Sudha Seshayyan, V-C of the Tamil Nadu Dr MGR Medical University, Prathap C Reddy, chairman of Apollo Hospitals, and Prashanth Rajagopalan, director of MGM Healthcare Hospital.
The turnout among nurses was low, according to data. At Stanley Government Hospital in Chennai, only two of the 25 registered nurses took the jab. In all of Coimbatore, only 72 of 400 registered healthcare workers turned up for vaccination. Officials are hoping the number will go up gradually in the coming days.
‘Took vaccine to boost confidence among public’
Dr K Senthil, speaking to The New Indian Express, said that he volunteered to receive the first shot of the vaccine amid speculations over its efficacy as a confidence-building measure among the medical community and the general public. N Mariappan (30), who was one of the first people to be administered the vaccine, said that he volunteered for it since he did not have any safety concerns over the vaccine and that he hoped to acquire immunity in due course.
Mariappan works as an ambulance driver with the 108 service. Another volunteer, Muthu Mari, who is employed as a cleanliness worker at the GRH, said that she had witnessed many a ordeal by those who had tested positive for the coronavirus, when she was on Covid-19 duty. She asserted that it was necessary to be immunised against the virus.
Meanwhile, sources in the health department said that any adverse reaction caused by the vaccine would usually be exhibited within 30-40 minutes of receiving the shot. By protocol, the beneficiaries are kept under observation at the vaccination sites for 30 minutes after they receive the vaccine. In case of any abnormalities in the beneficiary after returning home, sources said that the affected persons could approach their nearest healthcare facility and the District Immunisation Officer in charge would soon be alerted.