The administration in Tamil Nadu’s Tiruppur district has ordered an enquiry into allegations that around 800 doses of vaccine meant for Primary Health Centres (PHCs) were diverted and sold to private garment factories.
The Tiruppur District Collector’s office told IANS that an order has been issued to investigate whether there have been any lapses in allotting vaccines to the garment factories and whether vaccines meant for PHCs were sold to these factories.
The issue came into light after the Tirupur corporation decided to administer around 800 doses of Covaxin, meant for four PHCs, to workers of three garment factories.
Meanwhile, an internal communication from the Health Department had stated that 728 doses of vaccine were remaining unutilised across four PHCs — Sundamedu, Annanesavlar, Kovilvali, and Periyandipalayam.
On Saturday, local people, coming to know of the availability of vaccines, reached these PHCs but were informed that vaccines were not available. At the same time inoculation was conducted to employees and workers of three garment factories – M.S. Garments, Prisma Garments and Network Clothing Company – on Saturday itself.
The local people then suspected that the vaccines meant for them in PHCs were diverted and sold to the garment factories and created a row.
Corporation officials said that the vaccine drive was conducted at the three garment factories on Saturday and 700 doses of vaccine administered. A senior corporation official, who did not want to be identified, told IANS that “it was a case of miscommunication as the vaccine stocks were diverted to the garment factories without informing the PHCs and local people came to know of this and hence the hue and cry.”
District Collector Vijayakarthikeyan ordered a probe into the media reports and complaints from local people that vaccines were sold to private garment factories.
Tamil Nadu Health Secretary J. Radhakrishnan also said that prioritising institutional vaccination is the prerogative of the district administration. He said that if no sale had happened, there is no controversy.
The district administration is expecting a written report on the incident and if there was no mention of any sale of the vaccine, no action will be taken regarding inoculation at the garment factories.