The COVID-19 vaccination drive began in West Bengal on Saturday morning, with a doctor of a private hospital receiving the first shot, officials said. Bipasha Seth is the first person who got inoculated in the state, the hospital authorities said.
"It's a great day for humankind. I feel elated to get the first dose," said Seth.
West Bengal's Minister of State for Labour Nirmal Maji also received the Covishield vaccine at the Kolkata Medical College and Hospital, the officials said.
The vaccination programme started around 10.30 am at 212 session sites, including medical colleges, urban primary healthcare centres and a few private hospitals, they said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the nationwide rollout of the COVID-19 vaccination drive via video conferencing earlier in the day.
Around 1,800 health workers have been selected for inoculation on Saturday, the officials said.
"Today is a big day for us. It seems we are slowly coming out of the pandemic, which has claimed so many lives.
We were in a state of depression for the last one year. From today, we will again relive our lives," Urban Development Minister Firhad Hakim said.
Hakim said Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee will hold a virtual meeting with officials at 1 pm to monitor the vaccination process.
Around 90,000 frontline health workers at government and private hospitals have been enrolled for the first phase in West Bengal.
Kolkata has been allocated the highest number of 93,500 doses, followed by North 24 Parganas district (47,000) and Murshidabad (37,500).