Not Enough Doses, Bengal To Inoculate Only Priority Groups From Today

West Bengal's decision not to vaccinate universally is to also avoid overcrowding at government hospitals, officials said.

Till now, over 1.89 crore people in West Bengal have been vaccinated.

The West Bengal government on Sunday said there will be no universal vaccination beginning today. Owing to a shortage of doses, the administration will inoculate those in the 18+ years age group only if they are in "priority groups", the state has said.

"There aren't enough vaccines for all in the 18+ years age group," an official said. Those included in the "priority group" are, among others, bus conductors, drivers, hawkers, and health workers' families.

The decision not to vaccinate universally is to also avoid overcrowding at government hospitals, officials informed.

The state has infrastructure ready to provide Covid shots to up to 5 lakh people a day. It is already vaccinating over 2 lakh; depending on supplies, it may increase this to 3 lakh persons, officials said. There is no major change in the number of vaccination centres or personnel being deployed, the Directorate of Health Services has said.

Till now, 1,89,31,993 people in West Bengal have been vaccinated in all, which is around 25.2 per cent of the state's voting population.

Earlier, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had alleged that Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government was not following the spirit of federalism in the matter of vaccination supplies. She had wondered why the Centre kept to itself the right of distribution of 25 per cent COVID-19 vaccines to private hospitals and not to the states.

She had also opposed the imposition of Goods and Services Tax on medicines, equipment, and vaccines required for the treatment of the disease.