TN CM Stalin takes a swipe at Centre over supply of vaccines

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Chennai, May 26 (PTI) Chief Minister M K Stalin on Wednesday hit out at the Centre over allocation of vaccines to states and said not only Tamil Nadu but several states faced constraints and to tackle the situation, the government has gone in for global bids to procure vaccines.

The state government has been continuously requesting the Centre to increase allocation of vaccines and as of now, an inventory of 3,14,000 vaccine doses meant for the 45-plus age group is available, he said.

For the 18-44 age group people, 12.85 lakh vaccine doses have been received and 11.50 lakh doses would be arriving and work is on at full swing to vaccinate high-risk category people and workers of large industries, he said.

The purchase of vaccine for those in 18-44 age bracket is done by the state government.

As regards supply of adequate doses of vaccines to states by the Centre, he told reporters that not only Tamil Nadu, but several states faced constraints.

Only to tackle this situation, Tamil Nadu has floated global tenders for procurement of vaccines.

'We also have plan to manufacture vaccines in Tamil Nadu,' he said and recalled his visit to the Centre's HLL Biotech at Chengelpet near here on Tuesday.

The facility 'has been made non-operational' and the state government would continue to prevail upon the Centre to get it working, he said.

After inaugurating a vaccination drive at a village in nearby Tiruvallur district, Stalin said the virus spread in cities including Chennai has been witnessing a phased decline and the situation would improve further.

After his government took over on May 7, about 78,000 vaccine doses were being administered on an average as against the previous 61,000 doses right from day one of vaccination on January 16, he said.

Also, vaccine wastage has been brought down to one per cent during the past two weeks while it was about six per cent before, he added.

Asked on extension of the week long intense lockdown, he said though there is satisfaction to an extent vis-a-vis the curbs and correspondent fall in fresh cases, there is no 'complete satisfaction' yet. Apparently, he indicated that the lockdown could be extended beyond May 31.

A two-week lockdown commenced on May 10 in Tamil Nadu with some relaxations and later, the government extended the lockdown for one more week from May 24 with more curbs.

The additional restrictions between May 24 and 31 include closure of vegetable shops and provision stores, which were allowed earlier to work between 6 AM and 10 AM.

A 'full stop ' was not placed to the first wave of the virus last year and the result was the second wave, the CM claimed. He exuded confidence of full containment of the second wave of COVID-19 in Tamil Nadu.

Arch-rival AIADMK was in power (2016-21) till April and the Chief Minister was K Palaniswami, when the first wave of the pandemic broke out in 2020. PTI VGN BN BALA BN BALA

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