VELLORE/TIRUVANNAMALAI: Even as the COVID-19 vaccination drive began on Saturday, the medical community in the Vellore region by and large remained hesitant to take the jab.
Tamil Nadu Minister for Commercial Taxes and Registration KC Veeramani launched the vaccination drive at the government hospital (GH) in Tirupathur while Minister for Labour and Employment Nilofer Kafeel launched it at the GH in Vaniyambadi.
Talking to reporters, Veeramani said, "Tirupathur district has received 4,700 doses of vaccine and 4,184 healthcare workers have been registered for the jab."
The vaccine is being administered at GHs at Tirupathur, Ambur and Vaniyambadi and primary health centres in Kunichi.
In Vellore district, district revenue officer J Partheeban launched the drive at Vellore Govt Medical College Hospital (GVMCH). Four centres including GVMCH, Govt Pentland Hospital (GPH) and government hospital (GH) at Gudiyatham and primary health centre (PHC) at Vaduganthangal were set up for administering the vaccine, sources said.
Ranipet district health officer M Veerasamy Mohankumar took the first jab at the upgraded primary health centre located at Punnai in the presence of district collector Gladstone Pushparaj. The district govt headquarters hospital in Walajapet and the GH at Arakkonam are the two other vaccination centres.
Meanwhile, sources said the medical community largely remained hesitant to take the jab given the controversy surrounding the push given to the vaccine drive. The turnout was very poor in the three districts.
In Vellore district, only 55 turned out for the jab while Ranipet district reported just 21 and Tirupathur had about 60, sources stated. In Tiruvannamalai district, just 27 persons took the vaccine.
Although top authorities of the health department and government medical colleges in Vellore and Tiruvannamalai posed for photos, most of the faculties and staff did not come forward to take it. The turnout in Govt Tiruvannamalai Medical College Hospital (GTMCH) was just four.
"Why should I take the vaccine. They are trying to hold the trial using us even before complete data on trials, efficacy and safety is released," said a govt medical college professor.
He added that most of his colleagues too shied away from taking the jab.