Vaccination must for being in public places

DPH invokes provisions under the Tamil Nadu Public Health Act

Through a circular issued on Thursday, the Directorate of Public Health has made vaccination against COVID-19 mandatory for people in public places in Tamil Nadu.

In a move to make COVID-19 vaccination compulsory for the eligible population, the Directorate of Public Health (DPH) and Preventive Medicine has invoked provisions under the Tamil Nadu Public Health Act, 1939, to ensure that public places, including markets, theatres and factories, are occupied only by those vaccinated against COVID-19.

Over the past few weeks, the uptake of vaccination, both among those yet to take the first dose and those due/overdue for the second, has slowed down in the State. The overall coverage of inoculation stands at 6,45,72,433.

In the circular issued to deputy directors of health services and the city medical officer of the Greater Chennai Corporation, T.S. Selvavinayagam, Director of Public Health, said under Section 76 clause (b) of sub-section (2) of the Act, the DPH had the power to make vaccination and preventive inoculations compulsory, subject to provisions of sub-section (3).

The DPH has instructed its deputy directors to implement certain provisions of the Act “suitably informing the owner/occupier” of the listed places, and ensure that all places notified under Section 71 sub-section (1) are occupied by persons “who are vaccinated against COVID-19” to prevent the spread of the infection.

Under Section 71 sub-section (1), no person who knows that he is suffering from a notified disease shall expose other people to the risk of infection, by his presence or conduct, in any street or public place, market, theatre or other place of entertainment or assembly, school, college, playground, hotel, hostel, boarding house, choultry, resthouse or club, any factory or shop.

As per the Act, the DPH may, from time to time, as occasion requires, recommend for the adoption by any local authority, measures necessary for improving the public health administration in the local area or for safeguarding public health, the circular said.

Dr. Selvavinayagam said they would be requesting owners/occupiers to ensure that only vaccinated people are allowed.

“It is a step towards a safe Tamil Nadu. With 74% first-dose coverage and 37% second-dose coverage, this strategy will definitely help us reach the unvaccinated,” he said.

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