High time elderly and vulnerable also receive vaccine, say experts
As active Covid cases have come down to 0.5 per cent in the State, focus is now on expanding vaccination target groups.
CHENNAI: As active Covid cases have come down to 0.5 per cent in the State, focus is now on expanding vaccination target groups. While the Greater Chennai Corporation on Tuesday said election officials and media persons would be eligible to get the vaccine, public health experts say that it is high time the target groups are expanded to senior citizens and vulnerable population. Ever since the State allowed frontline workers receive the jab, the beneficiary numbers rose by more than 50 per cent.
From a daily 6,866 beneficiaries on February 1, the numbers rose to 21,645 on February 15. Public health experts say that it is important to immediately include senior citizens and vulnerable populations to the beneficiary list as the State still continues to record deaths in single digits with mostly senior citizens succumbing to the virus.
Former Director of Public Health Dr K Kolandasamy said that it is very essential to include the elderly.
“Virus is still active and has spread to all districts and towns. Young people may not even catch the infection now even if they are exposed, but adults above 50 are vulnerable,” he said. Kolandasamy added that at the tail end of the pandemic, virus will search for hosts for survival. “Thus, promoting the vulnerable people into the vaccination drive and vaccinating them in the next three months is very important,” he added.
Dr Subramanian Swaminathan, Infectious Diseases Specialist at Gleneagles Global Health City said that in some States, Covid numbers are starting to creep up, and hence vaccination must be expanded to all vulnerable groups immediately. “We don’t know how long the immune status will last and concerns of a second wave is still there as many parts of the world have experienced a second wave. Including senior citizens into vaccination drive immediately makes sense,” he opined. Recently, Health Secretary Dr J Radhakrishnan said that the State had conveyed its opinion to the Centre in this regard to include interested senior citizens into the vaccination beneficiary list.