Centre assures T.N. of sufficient supply of Remdesivir, vaccines

More youth turning up with breathlessness, says Minister

The Union Government has assured Tamil Nadu of adequate supply of Remdesivir and COVID-19 vaccines, Health Minister C. Vijayabaskar said on Sunday.

“I had a discussion with Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan, who assured me of sufficient supply of Remdesivir and vaccines. He said he would instruct the Drug Controller-General of India to provide the stock sought by Tamil Nadu at the earliest. We are working on a war footing to ensure the uninterrupted availability of vaccines, antiviral drugs and oxygen at all government hospitals in the State,” Dr. Vijayabaskar told The Hindu.

Expressing concern over him not being invited to the recent video conference of State Health Ministers chaired by Mr. Vardhan, he wondered how he and two others (Health Ministers of Kerala and West Bengal) would know of the action plan against the second wave of COVID-19 if they were not kept in the loop.

Asked about the shortage of manpower in government hospitals, believed to be a reason for delay in opening COVID-19 Care Centres, he said hundreds of doctors, paramedical staff and technicians were recruited last year and they continued to serve in various districts.

“We are preparing for another round of recruitment now. The bed strength in ICUs will be increased depending on the demand. Special teams are closely watching the developments in States such as Maharashtra and Gujarat that are badly hit by the second wave. Responses to healthcare demands that are arising in those States are being kept ready here in advance…,” he said.

He said many youngsters were turning up in hospitals with breathlessness. “This is because they ignored symptoms in the initial stage and came to the hospital with moderate or severe conditions, making it challenging for doctors to treat. We have been repeatedly appealing to the people not to ignore initial symptoms. By delaying treatment, they will also be spreading the infection to others. Even in case of mild fever or cough, people should reach out to hospitals for a COVID-19 check. The system of diagnosis has been strengthened and made accessible to all,” he said.

Labourers in some industries are already leaving for their home States. Though there is no need to panic, they seem to have been misled by rumours on social media, he said. “You have to trust the government and have faith in the system. We [Tamil Nadu] were among the best in the country in managing the first wave. I appeal to all eligible people to take vaccines, as early as possible, without fear. It is the only hope to beat the virus as of now. The more the people are relaxed and complacent. the more it becomes challenging for us to manage the pandemic,” he said.

On actor Vivekh’s death, Dr. Vijayabaskar said the vaccine had nothing to do with his death, which the hospital had also clarified. On average, about 2 lakh jabs are being given in the State and not a single case of contra-indication had been reported. “After a long wait. we have got the vaccines now. I have taken the vaccine and have continued to work, even in COVID-19 wards. The people have realised that the rumours are baseless… the number of jabs have not come down,” the Minister said.

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