Alleging “total discrimination” in vaccine distribution, chief minister Mamata Banerjee today urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to provide 11.5 crores more doses to West Bengal so as to facilitate vaccinating a substantial portion of the population before the third wave of Covid sets in.
“I heard PM Modi saying that UP has been given the highest allocation of vaccines. I don’t mind but why is it that the BJP-ruled states are being given more doses while some states are receiving no vaccines at all? We are being denied our legitimate financial dues, aid relating to disasters and vaccines.
Total discrimination is being done in vaccine allocation. Engaging agencies to disturb us is the only work that is being done. Unable to accept their electoral defeat, BJP is defaming West Bengal due to their political vendetta,” said Miss Banerjee at a press conference in Nabanna.
Even though West Bengal ranks first in vaccination, other states have received more vaccines, she said adding: “We need14 crore vaccines to be prepared for combating the third Covid wave. We were giving three lakh does every day but had to stall the vaccination drive for a week due to the shortage of vaccines as the supply is irregular. We have a capacity of administering 10 to 20 lakh doses a day provided sufficient quantities of vaccines are made available to us.”
According to the state government’s assessment, Bengal needs around 11.5 crores more doses of Covid vaccines to cover all eligible categories. “The state’s monthly requirement of vaccines is 1 to 1.5 crore. I have written to the prime minister to provide us with doses as per our requirements. I know it is most likely that I would not receive any reply like in previous times. But I wanted to draw his attention to this serious issue and so have written to him again,” she said.
In a letter to Mr Modi, Miss Banerjee wrote that as per the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Bengal has been allocated 73 lakh doses for the month of July but unfortunately only 25 lakh doses have been received to date.
“We would earnestly request you to kindly give necessary instructions so that Covid-19 vaccination supply to our state is increased as per our requirement in order to facilitate vaccinating a substantial portion of the population of the state before the third wave sets in,” her letter read.
Miss Banerjee said the state needs a total of 14 crore doses and has administered 2.5 crore doses till now. Of which, 1.81 crores are first doses and the remaining 0.70 crores are second doses. A total of 51 lakh super spreaders have been vaccinated. The Centre has supplied 2.12 crore doses and the state government procured 18 lakh doses by spending Rs 60 crore, she said.
“The Centre is prompt in displaying PM Modi’s photograph on the vaccination certificates but it lacks eagerness when it comes to vaccinating people. Vaccine procurement and distribution lies with the Centre so how can the government or private hospitals administer the doses if there is a shortage?” she questioned.
Urging people to continue wearing masks and maintaining physical distance, she said: “The Covid situation in West Bengal has improved significantly as single-day cases remain at 800 to 900 while positivity and discharge rates are 1.5 and 98 per cent respectively. However, it is being reported that the situation is bad in many states.”