COVID-19 vaccine shortage delays launch of universal inoculation drive in West Bengal

KOLKATA: The West Bengal government could not start its universal vaccination programme – aimed at inoculating people in the 18-45 age group free of cost – due to paucity of jabs, a health department official said on Tuesday.

Speaking to ANI, Kanka Chakraborty, medical staff at the vaccination centre of Basanti Devi College, Gariahat, Kolkata said, “The universal vaccination drive, inoculating people in the 18-45 age group free of cost has started from Monday, but we have vaccine shortage here, the reason why we are not administrating the doses at that pace.”
“We will try to utilise all the vials that we have received today,” she added.

While due to the shortage of vaccines, people queued up at a vaccination centre in Gariahat. “I came at 10 am, but had to wait long. The stock was over and at about 12 pm they got more vaccines; process is very slow, many were told to return,” said Prerna Chowdhury, who got vaccinated at the centre.

“Today I got vaccinated here for free. It is a very good initiative. Everyone should receive vaccine free,” said Surjit Mondal. The Central government on Monday kickstarted the universal vaccination programme to supply states’ free vaccines for the 18-45 age category.

India administered 86,16,373 COVID-19 vaccine doses on Monday, the highest-ever single-day vaccination in the world so far, the Union Health Ministry informed on Tuesday.

Under the centralised vaccination policy, the Centre will procure 75 per cent of vaccines from the open market and give them to states for free distribution to inoculate all citizens above the age of 18. It will also handle the 25 per cent vaccination that was with states till now under the liberalised plan announced earlier. (ANI)