West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Sunday said the COVID-19 vaccine will be provided free of cost to the people of the state. Announcing the development, Banerjee in a statement said the state government is making arrangements to facilitate the administration of the COVID-19 vaccine. "I am happy to announce that our government is making arrangements to facilitate the administration of #COVID19 vaccine to all the people of the state without any cost," the statement read.
COVID vaccination in West Bengal is likely to begin by next Thursday. The state health department has revealed that initial doses of the COVID-19 vaccine are likely to be administered to health workers by January 14. Serum Institute of India’s version of Oxford-Astrazeneca COVID-19 vaccine ‘Covishield’ is likely to reach Kolkata from Pune by Saturday, according to some media reports.
The West Bengal government has already furnished a list comprising identities of Health workers who would receive the first COVID shots in the state. The health workers include nurses, doctors, and Group-D staff of hospitals.
Meanwhile, West Bengal's COVID-19 tally rose to 5,59,886 on Saturday as 787 more people tested positive for the infection, while 20 fresh fatalities pushed the state's coronavirus death toll to 9,922, a health bulletin said. As many as 978 people have been cured of the disease, taking the recovery rate among the coronavirus patients in the state to 96.79 per cent, it said.
North 24 Parganas district reported the highest number of new cases at 224, followed by Kolkata (193), the bulletin said.
Kolkata and North 24 Parganas districts reported the highest number of fresh fatalities at five each, followed by Howrah (four).
The state now has 8,034 active COVID-19 cases, while 5,41,930 people have recovered from the disease so far, the bulletin said.
West Bengal has so far tested over 74.06 lakh samples for COVID-19, including 34,221 in the last 24 hours, it added.