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Chennai: As Covid-19 vaccination drive gains pace, Corporation warns against fake messages on social media

Several messages being shared on WhatsApp claim that the vaccine is now available for anyone over the age of 18. The Greater Chennai Corporation (GCC) has stated that such messages are false and has urged people to await their turn for vaccination.

Written by Shivani Ramakrishnan | Chennai |
Updated: March 26, 2021 12:30:24 pm
Vaccination, Covid-19 vaccineA total of 25,39,397 people have been vaccinated across Tamil Nadu till Thursday.

Even as Tamil Nadu is gearing up for the third phase of Covid-19 vaccination from April 1, where persons over the age of 45 can get inoculated, a series of messages being circulated on WhatsApp seem to be creating confusion among citizens in state capital, Chennai.

Currently, according to Central government regulations, the vaccine is being administered to frontline workers, senior citizens (those above 60 years of age) and those over 45 years with comorbidities.

However, several messages being shared on WhatsApp claim that the vaccine is now available for anyone over the age of 18.

“TN has relaxed covid vaccination rules and any one above the age of 20 having to interaction with public can get vaccinated with Aadhaar as proof. Any apartment or housing society or work place in Chennai wants to arrange a camp can reach out to chennai corporation helpline, they will visit and inoculate. Minimum 40 people mandatory to arrange a visit. It can be residents and household asssistance or neighbourhood people. Should inform approximate number a day in advance. Chennai corporation has opened vaccination for all age groups except kids”, read one such message.

Following this, the Greater Chennai Corporation (GCC) Tuesday tweeted that such messages are false and urged people to await their turn for vaccination.

Reiterating this, Dr. Selvavinayagam, the Public Health Director for Tamil Nadu told Indianexpress.com that the vaccine is only being provided to senior citizens and individuals over the age of 45 who have comorbid conditions in Phase 2. “Every day, we vaccinate around 1 – 1.5 lakh people in the city, yet some people want to create confusion by forwarding such messages. Currently, nobody below the age of 45 is being vaccinated and that is our official stance. The same has been communicated to the GCC and to other district officials.”

“The only exception has been made for polling officials”, the director said. Assembly elections in Tamil Nadu are scheduled to be held on April 6. “All polling officials are being inoculated irrespective of their age. Similarly, all frontline workers and healthcare providers are being vaccinated irrespective of their age”, Dr. Selvavinayagam added.

Several private hospitals across the city too reiterated that the vaccine is only being administered to individuals as per norms laid down by the Centre.

Covaxin and Covishield can be availed at both government and private hospitals in Chennai. While vaccination is free of charge at government hospitals, the same can be availed for a maximum fee of Rs. 250 in private hospitals.

Regarding plans of door-to-door vaccination drives across Chennai, Dr. Selvavinayagam said they will take a call on it should the need arise. Likewise, private hospitals have stated that they will conduct door-to-door vaccination drives once the government gives a green signal.

While there are no fines in place currently for individuals who receive their vaccine out of turn, such persons will be unable to claim insurance should any medical emergency arise in the future. “Any complication due to a vaccine being given out of turn and in contravention of a government order may create problems in getting insurance claims”, said an insurer. He added that is still a grey area for insurance.

As of March 25, a total of 5,99,044 people have been vaccinated in Chennai till date, with 31,633 having been inoculated on Wednesday. A total of 25,39,397 people have been vaccinated across Tamil Nadu till Thursday.

Meanwhile, Tamil Nadu recorded 1779 positive cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, bringing the state tally to 8,73,219. Among these, Chennai reported 664 positive cases, bringing the city’s total to 2,43,954. The state recorded 11 deaths on Thursday, putting the state toll at 12,641. Ten of them had succumbed due to comorbidities. A total of 1027 patients were discharged following treatment, taking the total number of recoveries to 8,50,091.

As of Thursday, the number of active COVID-19 cases in Tamil Nadu is 10,487. Till date, 5,27,343 males, 3,45,841 females and 35 transgenders have tested positive for the virus in the state. According to a bulletin released by the Health and Family Welfare Department of Tamil Nadu, 1,90,92,221 samples from the state have been tested till date, with 80,761 samples having been sent yesterday.

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