Bengal sets aside ₹100 crore for universal vaccination, to begin from May 5
The West Bengal government has set aside ₹100 crore for universal vaccination scheduled to take off on May 5, soon after the election results are declared, chief minister Mamata Banerjee said on Wednesday.
Banerjee also said that she would write to Prime Minister Narendra Modi over vaccination pricing.
“We have allocated ₹100 crore, which could be used to immediately purchase vaccines for the universal vaccination program. Till date we have administered 93 lakh doses. We will also urge the Centre to immediately supply us with another one crore doses. Then we can go for purchasing from the market,” she said.
The chief minister said that the universal vaccination program would take off from May 5. Assembly elections are going on in West Bengal and counting is scheduled on May 2.
“Vaccines, which were sold to the Centre for ₹150, will now be sold to states for ₹400 to private hospitals for ₹600. There should not be any discrimination. In times of an emergency do you help people or do business? For this the Centre should also take a decision without leaving it entirely on the people,” Banerjee said while adding that she would write to the Prime Minister.
On Monday, the Centre had opened the Covid-19 vaccination for everyone above the age of 18. There are more than 7.34 crore registered voters in West Bengal (persons who are more than 18 years and above).
The Serum Institute of India released the prices of Covishield vaccines on Wednesday and had said in a media statement that considering the global vaccine prices, “We are ensuring that our vaccines are affordable in comparison to any other vaccines in the world.”
“Some people are testing positive even after taking two doses of vaccines. The infection is however mild in such cases. At least 1.1% people who have received both the vaccine doses have tested positive in Kolkata,” said Banerjee.
With beds running out the state administration has directed government and private hospitals not to block any beds with patients whose condition is not critical. Also, hospitals have been directed to coordinate among themselves so that a critically ill patient could be referred to another hospital in case one hospital has no vacancy. Patients have been divided into three categories – A, B and C with A-category being the most critical patients who needs immediate hospitalization.
“There is a shortage of oxygen. We are keeping a close watch on the market so that there is no black marketing and hoarding,” she said.
Banerjee, however, ruled out the possibility of another lockdown in the immediate future saying that it affects people adversely.
“I am not thinking about lockdown. People were badly hit by lockdown last year. I would urge everyone to stay alert and wear masks. But I won’t tell people to stop work and stay at home. I don’t think there is any immediate need of another lockdown,” she added.