The DMK government on Thursday informed the Assembly that it was procuring facemasks, N-95 masks and PPE kits at costs much lower than what the erstwhile AIADMK regime paid, as it consolidated its efforts against the spread of COVID-19. It said that it had helped the State exchequer save ₹42.18 crore so far.
During his reply to the debate on the demand for grants in the House, Health Minister Ma. Subramanian said a three-layered mask was procured at ₹9.8 during the AIADMK government, but it was being procured at ₹0.85-₹1.15 now. An N-95 mask was procured at ₹14.4 then, but is now being procured at ₹6.95. As for PPE kits, it was earlier procured at ₹385, but is being procured at ₹139.5 now, he said.
Pointing out that the rate of vaccination was only about 61,000 people a day during the AIADMK regime, he said it had now increased to over 2 lakh a day, adding that doses were being wasted then. A total of 408 village panchayats and four municipalities across the State have been vaccinated 100%. The State government is just about managing with the vaccine doses being sent by the Union government, he said.
He listed out efforts being taken by the DMK government to tackle a possible third wave. Medicines for three months are being kept in reserve on the advice of the Chief Minister, he said.
Though the Centre had advised States in 2017 to administer pneumococcal conjugate vaccines to children under the age of five, the AIADMK government did not make an effort to do so, but the DMK government started it in July itself, and so far, 5,533 children had been administered the vaccine, the Minister said.
“Three doses have to be taken by children — once when they are a year-and-a-half old, then when they are three-and-a-half years old, and once when they are nine-months old. Each dose costs ₹4,000. It will cost ₹12,000 for every child and not all parents can afford it. On the Chief Minister’s advice, we are administering the vaccine for free,” he said.
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