Making arrangements to provide free COVID vaccine for people of Bengal, says CM
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Sunday announced COVID-19 vaccine will be provided free of cost to the people of the state.
Announcing the development, Banerjee said that the state government is making arrangements to facilitate the administration of the COVID-19 vaccine. “I am happy to announce that our government is making arrangements to facilitate the administration of COVID-19 vaccine to all the people of the state without any cost,” she said in a statement.
Several states including Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Madhya Pradesh have announced free vaccines for their citizens once the rollout starts.
The announcement comes months ahead of the Assembly elections in the state, due in April-May later this year.
The West Bengal government has already furnished a list comprising identities of Health workers who would receive the first COVID shots in the state. The health workers include nurses, doctors, and Group-D staff of hospitals.
Last week, India’s drugs regulator gave its nod to two vaccines for coronavirus — manufactured by the Serum Institute, and indigenously developed Covaxin of Bharat Biotech, for restricted emergency use in the country.
The vaccination drive in West Bengal is expected to begin by next Thursday, reported Times Now. First doses of the COVID-19 vaccine are likely to be administered to healthcare workers by January 14, according to the state health department.
Meanwhile, the COVID-19 vaccination drive in the country will start from January 16. The decision was taken at a meeting on Saturday in which Prime Minister Narendra Modi reviewed the status of COVID-19 in the country and the preparedness of states and union territories for vaccination against the disease.
A PMO release said that priority will be given to the healthcare workers and the frontline workers estimated to be around three crores followed by those above 50 years of age and the under-50 population groups with co-morbidities which number around 27 crores.
“After the detailed review, it was decided that in view of the forthcoming festivals including Lohri, Makar Sankranti, Pongal, Magh Bihu etc, the COVID-19 vaccination will start from January 16, 2021,” a PMO release said.
Emergency Use Authorisation or Accelerated Approval has been granted by the National Regulator for two vaccines – Covishield and Covaxin – which have established safety and immunogenicity, the release said.