Tamil Nadu is to become the first in the country to administer Covid-19 vaccines to those aged 2-18 years, said State Health Minister M Subramaniam on Wednesday. The Centre has made a formal announcement on the vaccine and sent the proposal for an expert opinion, and once Tamil Nadu gets the nod, the State would be the first to administer the vaccine, Subramaniam told reporters here.
An expert panel of the Central drug authority has recommended granting emergency use authorisation to Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin for children and adolescents in the 2 to 18 years age group with certain conditions, sources said on Tuesday.
If approved by the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI), it would be the second COVID-19 vaccine after Zydus Cadila’s needle-free ZyCoV-D to receive EUA for use in those below 18 years. Tamil Nadu was the first also in inoculating pregnant women after the Centre announced the scheme for them, he said.
“So far, over five lakh such women were given the vaccines," he added.
Subramaniam was here to participate in various functions, including the one at a private educational institution where he launched projects to create awareness among the public on ‘No Food Waste,’ ‘Hand Wash’ and ‘Re-purpose Used Cooking Oil.’
Lauding the district administration and health department, Subramaniam appreciated the task being taken by the administration to enter into record books by converting the used cooking oil into bio-diesel. Brazil holds the Guinness record by recycling 550 tonnes of used oil in a month.
Stating that Coimbatore is number-one in Tamil Nadu by vaccinating 93 per cent of the population with the first dose and 37 per cent with the second dose of Covid-19 vaccine, the Minister said that to reach 100 per cent through door-to-door service, five mobile vans were launched for five zones of the city. A little over 5.51 lakh people were inoculated through five mega camps, he said.
He also inaugurated a Rs.1.5-crore Special Newborn Care Unit in the Coimbatore Medical College and Hospital, particularly to treat infants born weighing less than 1.5 kg.
On the functioning of Amma Clinics, he said they were a temporary arrangement. Once the DMK government introduced the door-to-door campaign, there was no need for such clinics and their staff were shifted to health departments.
To a question on NEET, Subramaniam said Chief Minister M K Stalin has sent letters to 12 Chief Ministers on the need to scrap the test and that it was certain that Tamil Nadu would become a model State in abolishing the NEET.
Asked about admission to medical colleges, the Minister said the government has taken steps to admit 1,650 students to 11 medical colleges this academic year. “Already, 850 seats have been allotted, another 800 seats would be allotted once the infrastructure is ready," he said.