CHENNAI: The scheme to provide covid vaccines free of cost to people in private hospitals in Tamil Nadu under the CSR initiative would be formally launched by Chief Minister M K Stalin on July 28.
The initiative follows the recent meeting the minister for medical and family welfare Ma Subramanian had with companies and representatives of various health care providers across the state.
"Chief Minister (M K Stalin) will formally inaugurate the scheme at Kaveri Hospital in the city on Wednesday (July 28). The funds to procure the vaccines under the CSR initiative will be borne by hotelier Adyar Anandha Bhavan and the hospital will be providing the jabs for free", he said.
"People living near (the hospital) can avail the benefit", he told reporters.
Last week, Subramanian held discussions with representatives of 137 hospitals and industrialists from Chennai, Tiruvallur, Ranipet, Chengalpet, Vellore, Kancheepuram Tirupathur and Coimbatore.
Subramanian said after rolling out the free vaccine programme in private hospitals on July 28, the scheme would be implemented across districts gradually.
Hospitals offering this service would advertise the scheme in the locality, enabling the public avail it, he said.
On July 23,Subramanian had said the Centre was bearing the costs for procuring 75 per of the vaccines since June 21, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi made an announcement to this effect, while the balance 25 per cent are allotted to private health care providers.
Subramanian had clarified that the current practice of private hospitals providing vaccines at a price would continue, along with the free vaccination drive.
A COVISHIELD vaccine (by Serum Institute of India) is fixed at Rs 780 a dose, while COVAXIN (offered by Bharat Biotech) is priced at Rs 1,410 in private healthcare facilities. The vaccines are available free of cost to the public in government hospitals.
Meanwhile, the health minister said a departmental inquiry was on to investigate the free masks distribution scheme rolled out during the previous AIADMK rule.
Subramanian said a request was made in the Assembly for free distribution of masks to the public by DMK when AIADMK was in power.
"Initially, the DMK's request was rejected, but later the scheme was implemented by the revenue department. The masks that were distributed were substandard and served no purpose", he alleged. A departmental probe has been initiated, he said.