July 21, 2021 10:52:51 pm
A day after the Centre told the Rajya Sabha that no deaths due to lack of oxygen were specifically reported by state and Union territories during the second wave of Covid-19, Tamil Nadu Health Minister Ma Subramanian said no person died in Tamil Nadu due to lack of oxygen.
Addressing the media in Chennai, Subramanian said, “We won’t be able to comment about the situation across the country but as far as Tamil Nadu is concerned, it is 100% true that no one died due to lack of oxygen. There was a big scarcity (of oxygen) when I assumed charge on May 7. We had a daily stock of 230 metric tonne of oxygen and the daily Covid-19 tally was 25,465. In the next four-five days, the infection increased and on May 21, as many as 36,184 positive cases were reported. We had a requirement of over 500 metric tonne oxygen. Even in those circumstances, Chief Minister M K Stalin took stern efforts to bring supply from other states due to which we were able to manage the crisis effectively and hence there was no death here due to lack of oxygen,” he said.
Commenting on the vaccination drive, the minister said the state is inching close to achieve two crores. He said till now 1,96,43,859 people have been vaccinated in Tamil Nadu, including 1,83,56,631 people in government hospitals and 12,87, 223 in private. He said the private hospitals are not fully utilising the 25% of total vaccines that has been provided to them by the Union government.
“For July, 17 lakh vaccine doses have come but the private hospitals have utilised only around four lakh doses. The government is taking steps to use the remaining 13 lakh doses to administer vaccines to the public. The issue is that the government is providing vaccines free of cost whereas private hospitals, which seek the 25% share of vaccines by paying a price, are in a position to charge the public for providing vaccines. Covaxin is provided at a cost of Rs 1,410 and Covishield is provided at Rs 780. People are not showing interest in paying a fee to administer vaccines. So, as per the directives of the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, we launched a free vaccination drive through private hospitals in Coimbatore yesterday (Tuesday) for the benefit of the public, by utilising CSR funds provided by private companies. We are the first state to do this with a total of 117 companies participating in the initiative and it will soon be expanded to other cities,” he said.
The minister added there will be no vaccine scarcity in the next three days as they are expecting additional doses from the Centre.
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