Chennai,Mar11 (PTI) Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K Palaniswami on Thursday received his first dose of COVID-19 vaccine, the indigenous Covaxin, at the Rajiv Gandhi government general hospital here, as he advised people to take the jab following a surge in new cases in the State.
Doctors at the hospital examined his pulse and blood pressure before administering the vaccine to Palaniswami who was flanked by health minister C Vijayabaskar and senior executives of health and family welfare department.
Health department officials said Palaniswami was administered Covaxin.
The chief minister is taking the shot almost two months after formally launching the vaccination drive in Tamil Nadu along with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on January 16.
Deputy chief minister O Panneerselvam and senior ministers including health minister C Vijayabhaskar, DMK Chief M K Stalin have already received the jab.
Since March 1, the Centre has allowed people above 60 and those aged between 45-59 with comorbidities to receive the vaccine.
After he was administered the first dose, Palaniswami was in observation for some time and Vijayabhaskar and a nurse asked him on how he was feeling post vaccination to which the chief minister responded he was fine.
Palaniswami told reporters later that 2,682 government and 924 private hospitals were administering the vaccine in the state.
'..we have got 3,606 vaccination centres and the state has received 34.01 lakh doses (of vaccine), while 11.25 lakh people have been vaccinated,' he said.
Appealing to people above 60 and those over 45 with comorbidities to take the shot, he said there is a possibility of contracting the disease in today's scenario when one goes out to purchase vegetables or office-related work.
'In order to protect the people, the government has taken measures to provide vaccination and I appeal to people to get vaccinated,' he said.
On the steps taken by the government in view of rise in new COVID-19 cases, he said, 'we have been urging people to take all precautionary measures while going out and if they strictly follow the government's standard operating procedure like wearing masks while going out, maintaining social distancing, the spread of virus can be prevented'.
After witnessing a decline in the number of new cases which were hovering below 500 for nearly a month, Tamil Nadu has been witnessing a surge since March 5.
On Wednesday, the State added 671 new infections aggregating to 8,56,917 overall and five deaths pushed the toll to 532. PTI VIJ BN BN