Free booster shot plan for age group 18-59 ends with only 11% coverage

The state has covered only 21% of the eligible population in all categories

The state has covered only 21% of the eligible population in all categories

The administration of free COVID-19 vaccine booster doses for people aged 18-59 ended on Friday. Overall, Tamil Nadu has so far covered only 21% of the eligible population – in all categories – with the precautionary dose.

The Center, in July, announced free precautionary doses for 75 days to all persons above the age of 18 years at government immunization centres. Until then, free booster doses were available only for health workers, frontline workers and individuals over the age of 60 at government centers, while paid vaccinations were available in the private sector for others. Director of Public Health and Preventive Medicine TS Selvavinayagam said the free booster dose for persons aged 18-59 at government centers ended on Friday.

“The population above 60 will get a booster dose every Wednesday in all government institutions,” he said.

However, as per the directorate’s data, only 21.38% of the eligible population in the state has received the precautionary dose so far. The uptake was lowest in the 18-59 age group as only 10.90% took a booster dose.

Individuals 60 years of age and older accounted for the highest coverage: 73.66% of them received a booster dose. Coverage among healthcare and front-line workers is less than 50%. While 44.08% of healthcare workers have received a booster dose, 43.71% of front-line workers have been covered so far.

youth mindset

He said, ‘Youth is not serious about booster vaccination. They may have mild infection but are potential spreaders of infection because of their mobility. Elderly persons living with them are at higher risk,” said Dr Selvavinayagam.