Tamil Nadu will commence vaccinating people in the age group of 18-44 from May 20, said Health Minister M Subramanian on Tuesday. He said, "Initially, the government will vaccinate people like auto-rickshaw drivers and factory workers aged between 18 years and 44 years to stop the COVID-19 chain."
"Chief Minister MK Stalin will formally inaugurate the programme from May 20," Subramanian told reporters after inaugurating the "oxygen on wheels" initiative launched by Inner Wheel Club of Adyar. He said the government has allotted Rs 46 crore to procure vaccines and so far nine lakh doses have arrived in the state.
To a query on whether the lockdown which came into force on May 10 would be extended in the state, he said it would be known only at a later date but the focus should be on breaking the chain of transmission of the virus.
Till now, Tamil Nadu has received 9.62 lakh doses of the order placed for 13.85 lakh doses of vaccines from Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech. The state government on May 16 received 7,95,470 Covishield doses and 1,66,530 Covaxin doses for inoculating the people between 18-44 years of age. The state is yet to receive 4,23,080 vaccines from the firms.
Apart from this, the state government has also issued global tenders for procuring 3.5 crore doses of COVID-19 vaccines. The Union government was providing vaccines to vaccinate the people above 45 years of age. The Union government recently said that the state government should buy vaccines for inoculating people in the 18-45 age group.
On Tuesday, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin also issued orders to produce oxygen, vaccines and lifesaving drugs within the state. The state government has also appointed Tamil Nadu Industrial Development Corporation to establish a joint venture with Indian and foreign companies willing to invest a minimum of Rs 50 crore in order to help with the production.