Kolkata, July 15: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking an increase in supply of COVID-19 vaccines, as she insisted that her government wanted to inoculate a substantial part of the population before the third wave sets in. In a two-page letter, Banerjee said that the state, as per the intimation of the health ministry, has been allocated 73 lakh doses of vaccine for July.
"Unfortunately, only 25 lakh doses have arrived so far this month. Hence, we would earnestly request you to kindly give necessary instructions so that supply in our state is increased and substantial portion of the population is vaccinated before third wave sets in," she wrote.
Banerjee further stated that the vaccination drive began in Bengal on January 16 this year, and 2.5 crore doses have been administered over the past few months. She also noted that the Centre has provided 2.12 crore doses, and the government purchased 18 lakh on its own. The rest were procured by private entities. COVID-19 Third Wave Scare: WHO Chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus Warns of 'Early Stages' of Third Wave of Coronavirus Amid Delta Variant Surge.
Currently, around three lakh doses were being administered every day on an average, and "irregular supply" is affecting the pace of the drive, she wrote.
The CM pointed out that the "state needs 11.5 crore more doses to cover everyone in the eligible categories.
Later, during a press meet in the city, Banerjee claimed that the Centre was more interested in getting Narendra Modi's picture printed on the vaccination certificates than ensuring that the drive runs smoothly. She also flayed the Union government for not providing assistance after Cyclone Yaas. COVID-19 Third Wave: Waning Immunity, Emergence of More Transmissible Variant Can Be Reasons Behind 3rd Wave of Coronavirus, Says Dr Randeep Guleria.
"How many times can one write (to the Centre)? We cannot be begging. The Centre gave us Rs 300 crore as cyclone relief from the funds that have already been allocated for the state. They did not provide any assistance beyond that," she added.
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