The Chennai city corporation will be launching a vaccination drive from Friday to cover one lakh residents above the age of 45. This drive will be carried out in apartment complexes, markets, companies and other residential areas. The Times of India reported that the civic body has 1.2 lakh doses of Covishield vaccines and 16,000 doses of Covaxin. Chennai Corporation Commissioner Gagandeep Singh Bedi has said that the aim is to vaccinate as many people as possible to reduce the transmission rate of the vaccine. Associations and traders will also be administered vaccines in marriage halls.
The focus of the drive will reportedly be on zones which have seen less vaccine coverage such as Thiruvottiyur, Tondiarpet and Thiru Vi Ka Nagar.
Tamil Nadu is currently at the bottom of the vaccination chart with only 14% of people aged above 45 having received their first dose of the vaccine. Overall, 49.37 lakh people have been given the first dose and 18.01 lakh people have been given the second dose.
On Thursday Chennai reported 6,991 cases, the highest in the state and 88 deaths due to COVID-19. Over 40,000 people are under treatment in the city for the virus. The city has seen a total of 5,546 deaths due to COVID-19 since the pandemic began.
The low rates of vaccination in the city, according to experts, is due to vaccine hesitancy caused by misinformation and low risk perception amongst residents.
Sources in the civic body told TNM that residents harboured several fears regarding the vaccine, most of them based on fake news that has been circulated on social media. This led to a poor show up at vaccines centres when the government opened it up for those aged above 45. Health authorities point out that only robust communication with residents to dispel fears and making vaccines available with a community focus can help improve vaccination rates.