CHENNAI: Tamil Nadu Health Minister Ma Subramanian on Friday said steps are on to offer free booster doses to those in the 18-59 age group at private hospitals across the State. Speaking to reporters, he said the Centre is providing free booster shots to frontline workers and those above 60 years of age, and two doses of free vaccine for children in the 12-14 and 15-17 age groups.
“The Centre has said people between 18 and 59 can take booster shots at private hospitals. But since many are hesitant to pay for the vaccine, the State government is planning to provide vaccines free of cost in private hospitals. This will be done with the help of corporate social responsibility (CSR) funds and support from organisations like the Rotary Club. The club has promised to roll out the initiative in Madhavaram soon. It will be a first-of-its-kind initiative in the country,” the minister said.
Steps are being taken to control Covid-19 which is increasing a few districts including Chennai, Chengalpattu and Tiruvallur. “As far as restrictions are concerned, guidelines issued by the Centre say total test positivity rate has to be above 10% or hospitalisations have to be more than 40% to impose curbs. Hence, there is no need for restriction now,” he said.
The minister was speaking in Chennai after inaugurating a dialysis unit set up by Rotary Club. “As per the Screening and Early Evaluation of Kidney Disease Project, 5.9% of people in the country have kidney diseases. While kidney replacement surgery is the permanent solution for such patients, they have to undergo dialysis while they are on the waiting list for organ donation. Since dialysis may cost them up to ` 5,000 per week, such free dialysis centres would be of immense help to these patients. The State government is also procuring more dialysis equipment,” the minister said.