West Bengal: Mamata Banerjee assures free COVID-19 vaccines from May 5

Kolkata: The TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee on Thursday announced that from May 5 everyone above 18 years will get free vaccination given by the Trinamool Congress government.

Addressing a public meeting in Tapan, the Chief Minister said, "The result of the West Bengal assembly polls will come on May 2. We will provide free COVID vaccination to all above the 18 years in Bengal after May 5."

A day after stating that she will ask for clarification about the discrimination on vaccine prices, TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee on Thursday wrote a letter to PM Modi where she had stated that the Central government must fix one price irrespective of who pays – Centre or state.

“While the manufacturer is giving GOI @ Rs 150 per dose, the GOI has fixed the price for states @ Rs 400 per dose. This is 167 percent extra and above the rates that GOI had fixed for itself. This is anti-federal and anti people,” read the letter.

The TMC supremo also wrote that the rate at public hospitals will also lead to unscrupulous practice.

In the letter the Chief Minister had also urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi that in this trying time no one should do business instead of serving people.

Crying foul, BJP West Bengal spokesperson Shamik Bhattacharya claimed that on May 2 BJP will form the government in West Bengal and also that they will ask the BJP led central government for more vials of vaccines so that everyone in West Bengal can be vaccinated.

West Bengal BJP vice-president Jay Prakash Majumdar stated that the private manufacturers had fixed the pricing taking into account the production cost, scientific input and market demand.

“In an open market the manufacturers have the right to fix it. She should say on what ground the centre can interfere in fixing the price of a medicine. If she has any problem she should directly negotiate with the manufacturing company,” claimed Jay Prakash.

Notably, on Wednesday, Serum Institute of India (SII) announced it will sell its Covid-19 vaccine, Covishield, for rupees 150 to the central government, rupees 400 to state governments and rupees 600 to private hospitals.

Soon after SSI’s announcement, addressing mediapersons on Wednesday, TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee had said that she would write to the Prime Minister over the differentiation in pricing of vaccines and urged the Centre to intervene.

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