People above 60, those with comorbidities can get Covid vaccine at dist hospitals: K'taka minister

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Bengaluru, Jan 2 (PTI) Karnataka Minister for Medical Education Dr Sharan Prakash Patil on Tuesday said people above 60 years and those with comorbidities can get vaccinated for the Covid-19 from January 3 onwards at the district hospitals in the wake of rising infections of JN-1 sub-variant.

The minister, however, underlined that there was no need to panic and urged people to take precautionary measures to tackle the spread of the virus.

In the wake of rising cases of JN-1 sub-variant of Covid-19 in the state, the minister convened a meeting with the heads of medical institutions and hospitals coming under the purview of the medical education department along with the head of the Covid-19 Technical Advisory Committee and its members here.

Patil reviewed the prevailing situation and took stock of the preparedness to tackle Covid-19 in the state.

After the meeting the minister said in a statement that there was no specific direction from the Central government on new vaccines.

“We will give the same vaccines that were administered during the first and second wave of the pandemic and the people above 60 years and those with comorbidities can get vaccinated at district hospitals from Wednesday,” Patil said.

According to him, the experts have opined that the JN-1 sub-variant is likely to spread rapidly but unlikely to cause serious health issues. So there was no need to panic.

He also said that the government will not issue orders making masks mandatory but people need to be careful at crowded places.

“Even though the WHO and many health experts have stated that the JN-1 sub-variant is unlikely to cause serious health problems for infected people, I’ve instructed the officials to be vigilant and take precautionary measures and create awareness among the people. The state has received 30,000 Covid vaccines from the Centre and we have taken all the steps to prevent shortage,” said the minister.

Clarifying about the availability of medicine, oxygen beds and equipments, the minister denied cash crunch regarding purchase of those items. He said a proposal will be sent to the finance department regarding purchase of equipments and recruitment of staff in some hospitals.

Explaining the cause of death of the 10 people who died in the state recently, Dr Patil denied that Covid was the cause and said that the patients had been suffering from various diseases. He further added that nine out of 10 people were suffering from heart, kidney and other ailments and one person from Mangaluru was an alcoholic and was not vaccinated.

Regarding the meeting with the officials, the minister said he has directed the officials to reserve 50 beds for Covid patients in each district hospital According to him, 18,141 beds in medical colleges, 10,000 in government hospitals and 11,500 beds coming under the Health and Family Welfare department are available for Covid patients.

The minister said testing capacities and healthcare facilities will be augmented in all districts and arrangements have been made for separate oxygen beds and ICUs in all government medical institutions Stating that 30,000 vaccines are presently available, Patil appealed to people who have missed vaccination and booster shots to avail of this facility. PTI GMS GMS ANE