Chennai, Jan 29 (PTI): Tamil Nadu would commence the COVID-19 vaccination programme for frontline workers of government departments like the police, revenue and local administration from February 1, the state Health Minister C Vijayabhaskar said on Friday.
Chief Minister K Palaniswami inaugurated the programme on January 16 and about six lakh healthcare professionals were on the priority list for the vaccination and the vaccines were being provided free of cost.
Talking to reporters here, the Minister said Palaniswami had earlier in the day chaired a review meeting comprising district collectors,government officials and various medical experts on the status of COVID-19 in the state.
'Currently, we are targeting healthcare workers for taking up vaccination. From February 1, we will be administering the vaccine on frontline workers of other departments like police, revenue, local administration,' he said.
Referring to the meeting chaired by Palaniswami, he said various medical experts, including World Health Organisation chief scientist Sowmya Swaminathan, lauded the efforts taken by the government againstf COVID-19.
At a time when the second lockdown was imposed in other countries due to COVID-19, Tamil Nadu was witnessing a declining trend on the virus spread while deaths due to the contagion have come down drastically, he said.
'Medical experts congratulated the state government for its measures to prevent COVID-19. Under the leadership of the Chief Minister, the state ranks top in healthcare and in medical infrastructure,' he said.
Meanwhile, the state received 12,34,920 doses of both COVI-shield and COVAXIN. Till date, 97,000 healthcare workers were vaccinated.
Acknowledging hesitation among the healthcare workers to get vaccinated, he said to instil confidence and to encourage them, he himself and the health secretary J Radhakrishnan got the shots.
'We are absolutely fine (after getting vaccinated). We request doctors, nurses and frontline workers in the Health Department to come forward and get themselves vaccinated,' he said.
He said the Indian Medical Association congratulated the government for the arrangements made for the programme.
The Health Department said the state today added 509 new COVID-19 cases aggregating 8,37,327 while six more fatalities pushed the toll to 12,345.
Recoveries outnumbered the new infections with 531 people recovering. The total cured in the state so far was 8,20,381 a bulletin said.
The number of active cases stood at 4,601.
The city's caseload increased to 2,30,982, the maximum among the districts with 148 people testing positive. The metro accounted for a little over one-third of the COVID-19 fatalities (4,097 deaths).
As many as 24 districts reported cases in single digits while 15 of them added new cases below five.
Thirty-one districts reported zero fatalities, the bulletin said.
A total of 52,520 samples were tested today, taking the total examined to 1,59,13,194.
As many as five individuals, who tested positive, were returnees from West Bengal and Karnataka. PTI VIJ NVG NVG