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The paid precautionary dose took off on a sluggish note in Chennai today.Chennai: Private hospitals in Tamil Nadu have not slashed the prices of Covid vaccines — Covishield ad Covaxin — even though the government has announced a massive reduction. The Union government has announced that both Covishield and Covaxin will be available for Rs 225 and a service fee of Rs 150.Many private hospitals blame it on their old stock purchased at a higher price.At Chennai’s Kauvery Hospital, Dr Aslesha Vijaay Sheth, the chief of Emergency Medicine, told NDTV, “The government has put a cap and I am sure all private hospitals will abide by it. We would roll out in a few days”.The paid precautionary dose took off on a sluggish note in Chennai today. All the private hospitals NDTV spoke to, reported a poor response.Tamilselvi, a mother of two, was among the first to take the paid booster dose. “I feel protected. Not all in my family have come. The government should make it free for the poor,” she added.Pachama, a flower seller, said she would skip the paid booster dose for now as she can’t afford it.Pachama earns just around Rs 300 a day. There are six members in the family, “all are still recovering from loss of income during the last two  lockdowns,” She added.The hospitals expect improvement in turnout once there is awareness on this.Social media is abuzz with mixed responses. While those who can afford it, are fine with paying for the booster dose, many express concerns about the poor being left to fend for themselves. Some even moot the idea of the PM Cares Fund being used for this.The Tamil Nadu government says so far 92 per cent of the 18-plus population has taken both doses and 75 per cent has taken at least one dose.The ruling DMK is yet to comment on the paid precautionary dose.

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