Shocker in Tamil Nadu: Are vaccines meant for primary health centres sold to private factories?

In a shocking development, the COVID-19 vaccines that are stocked for the primary health centres in Tamil Nadu were allegedly sold to private factories. without appropriate consent. Alarmed by the incident, the district administration has ordered a probe into the matter. 

According to reports, around 800 doses of vaccines that are procured for primary health centres (PHCs) in the Tiruppur district were diverted and sold to private garment factories. The issue had come to the revelation after the Tiruppur corporation has decided to administer around 800 doses of Covaxin to the workers of three garment factories, leaving the residents to suspect that the vaccines meant for PHCs were sold. 

In a release, the health department has said that 728 doses of vaccine were stocked up unutilized in four PHCs - Sundamedu, Kovilvali, Annanesavlar, and Periyandipalayam. When the local people in the vicinities of these PHCs came to know about the availability of vaccines last Saturday, they reached the health centres but they were later informed that the vaccine doses are not available at the centres. 

Parallelly, the vaccination drive was conducted at the three garment factories on Saturday in which the employees of the factories - MS Garments, Prisma Garments, and Network Clothing Company were administered with the vaccine doses. The local residents had then developed a suspicion that the vaccine doses that are meant for them in PHCs were diverted and sold to the garment factories without the proper information.

The issue had stirred shockwaves and the district administration had taken the matter for investigation. A senior corporation official told IANS that the incident was a case of miscommunication as the vaccine stocks were diverted to the garment factories without informing the PHCs. Tiruppur District Collector's Office said that an order has been issued to investigate whether there have been any lapses in allotting vaccines to garment factories and whether vaccines meant for PHCs were sold to these factories. 

District Collector Vijayakarthikeyan had ordered a probe into the matter after it has come to light through media reports and complaints from local people that vaccines were sold to private garment factories. The reports say that the district administration is expecting a report on the incident and no action will be taken against the garment factories if no sale of vaccines has happened. 

According to the state health department, Tamil Nadu has reported 16,813 fresh COVID-19 cases, 32,049 discharges, and 358 deaths on Thursday. Overall, the state has recorded 23,08,838 cases so far as of Thursday of which 1,88,664 are active, 20,91,646 have been discharged, and 28,528 people had succumbed to the viral infection.