As it is happening across the country on Saturday, the COVID-19 vaccination drive started in West Bengal as well. At 212 centres across the state, a total of 6 lakh frontline workers will receive the Covishield vaccine.

According to Swasthya Bhavan, health officials at different levels alongside the district authorities have been given the responsibility to conduct the vaccination process without any snag.

Reportedly, the first day will witness more than 35,000 healthcare workers in West Bengal receiving the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, created jointly by Oxford and AstraZeneca and manufactured by the Serum Institute of India.

In Kolkata, SSKM Hospital, Kolkata Medical College Hospital, Neel Ratan Sarkar Hospital, R.G. Kar Hospital, School of Tropical Medicine and B.C. Roy Child Hospital have been selected as the vaccination hubs apart from five other KMC-run health centres.

India on Saturday began the world’s largest Covid-19 vaccination programme on Saturday with Prime Minister Narendra Modi launching the drive aimed at ending the pandemic which so far has killed 1,52,093 people in the country and ravaged the economy.

Addressing the country digitally, the Prime Minister said that India managed to make two ‘Made-in-India’ vaccines in a very short period which usually takes years.

Lauding the efforts of scientists who are involved in vaccine research, Modi said they deserve special praise for making these vaccines and that “the vaccines will provide us a decisive victory against the deadly pandemic”.

The Drug Controller General of India earlier this month approved ‘Covishield’ and ‘Covaxin’ vaccines for emergency use. The Oxford University and AstraZeneca have developed ‘Covishield’, which has been manufactured in India by Serum Institute of India in Pune while Bharat Biotech has developed ‘Covaxin’.

“Only two weeks after the second dose, your body will develop the necessary strength against coronavirus,” the Prime Minister said.

The Prime Minister launched the vaccination drive at a time when India registered 1,05,42,841 Covid infections till Saturday with 15,158 new cases in the last 24 hours, as it continued with its streak of low single-day cases. A total of 1,01,79,715 people have recovered from the disease and currently there are 2,11,033 active cases. The recovery rate stands at 96.56 per cent, while the fatality rate is 1.44 per cent.