(Eds: Adds details) Tirupur(TN), May 20 (PTI) The free of cost COVID-19 inoculation drive in Tamil Nadu for beneficiaries in the 18 to 44 age bracket was inaugurated here on Thursday by Chief Minister M K Stalin.
The vaccination exercise began at the Netaji Apparel Park here which has a 12,000 strong workforce and all eligibile employees would be administered the jabs, an official release said adding Stalin gave away certificates to beneficiaries.
People in the 18-plus age range were the backbone of economy and in the first phase of vaccination for this group, Stalin has ordered vaccinating high-risk category people and industrial workers, the government said.
All efforts were being made to procure as much as 3.5 crore vaccine doses through global bids and 1.5 crore under a system of allocation to states by the Centre for vaccination of those under 45 years of age.
The union government had said that vaccination of people in the 18-44 age group should be implemented by the state governments.
Ministers including Ma Subramanian (Medical and Family Welfare), S Muthusamy (Housing), MPs, MLAs, Tirupur District Collector K Vijayakarthikeyan were present in the inaugural event of the vaccination drive.
Stalin, in a tweet said the government has quickened action to ensure that all the people in Tamil Nadu received the vaccine and that is the goal.
The Chief Minister, who is on an official two day tour of western region from Thursday, inspected a government primary health centre in Salem district and tweeted saying Tamil Nadu's medical infastructure would be changed into a 'model'.
He could understand the amenities in government hospitals and listen to the needs of doctors and nurses through such field visits, he said.
During his visit to Tirupur and later Coimbatore, he received contributions of nearly Rs 35 crore to the Chief Minister's Public Relief Fund to help the government tackle the pandemic.
Stalin inaugurated a 500-bed (with oxygen facility) COVID Care Centre at Salem on the premises of the Salem Steel plant, a unit of the Steel Authority of India.
In Coimbatore, he inspected a coronavirus treatment centre with additional bed facilities and another treatment centre that has been set up on the premises of a college.
On May 20 and 21, Stalin is set to cover five districts including Salem, Tirupur and Coimbatore and review COVID-19 related measures being taken up by the government. PTI VGN ROH ROH