Naresh, 35, works as a car driver at an apartment in RA Puram, Chennai. He has not taken a single dose of COVID-19 vaccine, despite constant pressure from his employer.
Naresh is a part of the 33 percent of the population of the state, who have refused to take the jab, despite the state government holding five special camps to vaccinate people.
“So far more than one crore people have taken the vaccine in the special camps held so far. Still, there are 33 percent of the population who are yet to take even a single dose of the vaccine. We have asked the district collectors to prepare a micro plan and see that all are vaccinated,” said state Health Secretary J Radhakrishnan.
People like Naresh are afraid of taking the vaccine after they were told that they will have fever for a day or two, and also some people, including actor Vivek, have died soon after taking the vaccine.
Despite Chief Minister M.K. Stalin as well as other politicians and celebrities stating that taking the vaccine is safe, many are still not able to come to terms with the vaccine.
“I am the only earning person in my family. If I fall ill or die, who will take care of my family? So far, I have avoided being infected with COVID-19, as I don’t remove my mask and have to use two masks daily. I take all steps to be clean but don’t want to take the vaccine,” said Naresh.
M Kavitha, a housewife in the Kotturpuram area, was avoiding taking the vaccine, but was pushed into a camp by a nurse who lives close to Kavitha’s house.
“Near my house, many people fell ill after taking the vaccine and I was afraid of taking the vaccine. Finally, a nurse, who lives near my house, took me to the vaccine camp and I had the first dose. Immediately I had a fever and I felt weak. I don’t want to take the second dose after eight weeks,” said Kavitha.
So far 5.24 crore doses of the Covishield and Covaxin jabs have been given in the state, out of which 67 percent have taken the first dose, and 24 percent have taken the second dose.
Thus, going by the data, the government has a big task on its hands. The Health Department officials need to make the 33 percent of the population take at least the first dose in the first instance, and make all those who have taken the first dose take the second dose when it is due.
Apart from COVID-19, dengue is another headache for the government. With the rainy season starting, the local bodies like Chennai Corporation will have to check areas which are famous for water logging to prevent the dengue outbreak.