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Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Mamata wants COVID vaccine for all before Bengal polls, seeks PM’s help

The letter to the PM comes on a day when the government announced that people above the age of 60 and those over 45 with comorbidities will be able to receive Covid-19 vaccines from March 1.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: February 24, 2021 5:47:23 pm
Mamata Banerjee, Narendra Modi, Covid vaccineIn the letter, Mamata stated that her government feels it is equally important to reach out to the public with a rapid vaccination programme immediately "in the interest of health and well-being of all concerned with the election process." (File Photo)

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, seeking his help in the procurement of COVID-19 vaccines ahead of the upcoming assembly elections.

Stating that it is worrying that the general public will go to the polling stations without any vaccination coverage in the upcoming April-May election, the Chief Minister said the West Bengal government has decided to procure adequate number of Covid-19 vaccines and inoculate the people of the state free of cost.

In the letter, Mamata stated that her government feels it is equally important to reach out to the public with a rapid vaccination programme immediately “in the interest of health and well-being of all concerned with the election process”.

Stating that the Covid-19 inoculation programme has started off in the right earnest with health workers and other frontline workers being vaccinated first, she said that it is equally important to reach out to every government and parastatal employee on an urgent basis in West Bengal to make the election safe.

Mamata further requested the PM to take up the matter with the respective authority so that the TMC government can purchase vaccines from designated places on top priority basis and, thereby, provide vaccination free of cost to all the people.

The letter to the PM comes on a day when the government announced that people above the age of 60 and those over 45 with comorbidities will be able to receive Covid-19 vaccines from March 1.

The Centre has estimated that this priority group is approximately around 27 crore strong.

The government has decided that at around 10,000 government facilities, the vaccination will be free of cost; however, at private hospitals, beneficiaries will have to pay for vaccination. The Health Ministry is expected to announce the cost at private hospitals in the next two-three days.

Last month, in an open letter, the West Bengal Chief Minister had said that her government is sending the vaccine free of cost to all people in the state.”

“The people of Bengal should get vaccines free of cost as early as possible, and the state government is willing to bear the financial burden,” she had said in a statement.

However, the BJP hit back accusing her of “wrongfully” claiming the credit with the Assembly polls due in April-May.

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