CM MK Stalin at the Vaccine Complex of HLL Biotech in Chengalpattu district
CM MK Stalin at the Vaccine Complex of HLL Biotech in Chengalpattu district

Leverage TN unit for vaccine production

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M K Stalin’s recent visit to the Chengalpattu complex has brought in a ray of hope.

The state-of-the-art Integrated Vaccine Complex, sprawled over 100 acres in Chengalpattu near Chennai, has been lying idle for the past nine years, a sacrilege when the host state of Tamil Nadu is weighed down by one of the largest viral caseloads in India. The facility, set up in 2012, was to be the nodal centre for research, manufacture and supply of vaccines for Hepatitis-B, rabies and other illnesses at affordable prices under the country’s Universal Immunisation Programme. With a demand-supply ratio of Covid vaccines across the country an abysmal 6.5:1, this ‘project of national importance’ that has the capacity to manufacture more than 500 million doses annually has rolled out only hand sanitisers. This travesty has become even more stark with the opening up of the inoculation drive for those in the 18-44 age bracket, with the state requesting the Union government for more vials citing low allotment in proportion to its population.

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M K Stalin’s recent visit to the Chengalpattu complex has brought in a ray of hope. The state has also floated global tenders to invite vaccine producers. One does not know if this will help, considering Moderna recently rejected a request from the Punjab government saying it will not supply directly to states and only transact with the Union government. With coronavirus cases still rising in parts of Tamil Nadu and the country, a rapid vaccination drive is the only way to outsmart the virulent march of the virus. Health experts have been calling for a vaccination drive on a war-footing to stop disease spread and prevent the virus from mutating further. Otherwise, this week’s promising dip in cases nationwide may not last too long.

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The New Indian Express
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