Like the dry run for COVID-19 vaccine held in 17 sites in five districts, all district Collectors were instructed to form teams and conduct inspection of vaccination points similar to verification of polling booths to assess the requirements and deficiencies, Health Secretary J. Radhakrishnan said.
“Through health department officials, inspection of vaccination points – whether it is a mini clinic, primary health centre or separate building – should be conducted. The facility should have three rooms. We have ordered for 100% verification similar to that of polling booths. The Collectors have formed teams for this purpose,” he told reporters following an inspection at the State Vaccine Centre’s cold storage facility on DMS campus on Tuesday.
There are 2,880 secondary cold storage points. These facilities should also be inspected and checked for its cold storage capacity and for availability of generators. Cold storage boxes to take the vaccines to remote areas should be readied, he said.
He said that the Directorate of Public Health and Preventive Medicine was taking measures on a war footing for the vaccination. “Our role is that of planning and preparation. The State Vaccine Centre’s cold storage facility has a capacity for 1.17 crore doses. Apart from this, we have readied 51 separate cold chain points through the Tamil Nadu Medical Services Corporation to preserve more than 2.5 crore doses,,” he said. He added that the State has adequate stock of syringes and needles.
The Health Secretary said the report of the COVID-19 vaccine dry run was submitted to the Centre, and they would reply with their feedback. While healthcare workers would receive the vaccine in the first phase, he said the number of frontline workers would be more as it would include employees of local bodies, ICDS, and also teachers in places such as Chennai.
On the COVID-19 clusters that surfaced in hotels, he said there was no need for panic. “Among the persons whom we screened, the positivity rate is less than 2.7%. We have tested 8,449 samples since December 15. Till now, we have received the results of 4,611 samples. A total of 166 persons tested positive for COVID-19 from December 15 to till date. Today, we have five to six positive patients,” he said.
He stressed on the need to follow Standard Operating Procedures in places where the public converged. Crowded places, closed spaces and contacts were important. “When we reach a situation to suppress COVID-19, we need to learn to work around COVID-19,” he said. He added that they have tested over four lakh vendors.
BIRD FLU: With States such as Kerala, Haryama. Rajasthan reporting cases of bird flu, he said though bird flu directly affects livestock, it could be transmitted to humans. The Animal Husbandry department implements Standard Operating Procedures, and the Directorate General of Health Services has issued contingency plan for management of human cases.
“As a precautionary measure, the Animal Husbandry department has already started to monitor six districts close to Kerala – Kanyakumari, Tenkasi, Theni, Tiruppur, Coimbatore and The Nilgiris. They are monitoring the incoming and outgoing livestock, and eggs at 26 checkposts on the interstate border. The health department is involved in taking up disinfection measures. We are working with a veterinary doctor and joint director to ensure that there is no spread of infection from other States to TN,” he said.
“Next, with rains, dengue will be an issue. As far as the health department is concerned, we have challenges throughout the year. The number of dengue cases is less by nearly five times, and we are seeing only sporadic cases now,” he said.
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