Chennai residents now have an easy way to get the Covid vaccine shot. The Greater Chennai Corporation has set up vaccination camps at 10 malls across the city and 38 fruit and vegetable markets to take the jab to shoppers, shopkeepers and salespersons visiting these places.
Karthik, a salesperson at a popular store at Palladium wing of Phoenix Market City in Chennai, is happy to have received his first dose. "I could not get my shots as there were long queues everywhere I went. Today in 15 minutes, I got my first shot. It is safe for me and my customers. In fact, many customers asked us if we are vaccinated."
The mall has put up stickers and flexes at all stores that read, "We are vaccinated". The management said this was a precondition for the stores to reopen.
Customers were surprised and many welcomed the move. Michael, a shopper who has recovered from COVID, said, "It is so good. People are surprised to see a vaccination centre inside a mall. This shows that the place is safe and will build confidence in people to come back with their families."
Vishu Mahajan, Deputy Commissioner for Revenue and Finance at the Corporation, said, "We are targeting (to vaccinate) around 30,000 people through this exercise."
Chennai has an 18+ population of 59,45,516 people. Out of the 35.9 lakh doses administered so far, 26.7 lakh people (44.9%) have received the first dose and 9.2 lakh people (15.5 %) have received both shots.
With demand rising, the city has also been facing a shortage of vaccines. The Corporation has now opened a website through which 50 per cent of doses can be booked in advance and the other half is available for walk-in vaccination at its centres.
Tamil Nadu, which has a population of about 6 crore, has administered two crore doses of vaccines so far -- 1.64 crore people have received the first dose and 36 lakh both doses.