On Saturday evening, Trinamool Congress leader said that the Centre should not go ahead with COVID-19 vaccination “on the basis of voters’ list”, but facilitate inoculation for every person in the country. TMC MP and Indian Medical Association (West Bengal chapter) president Santanu Sen said that there are reports that the Centre is firming up guidelines to begin a vaccination drive based on voters’ list of persons aged over 50 years. He added that the TMC demands that every bona fide resident of the country be extended the benefit of vaccines.
“How can vaccination be done on the basis of voters’ list? What about the citizens whose names may not figure in it, but who have other documents? Will they be left out,” Sen said in a press conference.
Kerala announces free vaccine
Meanwhile, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Saturday, said that COVID-19 vaccine will be made available free of cost to all people in Kerala. No one will be charged for the vaccine. This is the stand of the government, he said. Tamil Nadu and Madhya Pradesh, have also made a similar announcement. In Bihar elections manifesto, BJP promised free vaccine to all state subjects if they win the polls, stoking major controversy. However, many across the political parties followed suit.
COVID cases in West Bengal
The COVID-19 death toll in West Bengal crossed the 9,000-mark on Saturday as 44 more people succumbed to the disease, while 2,710 fresh cases pushed the tally in the state to 5,19,215, a health department bulletin said. The new fatalities increased the coronavirus toll to 9,010, it said. The total number of recoveries in the state is 4,87,171. West Bengal now has 23,034 active cases, the bulletin said.
Kolkata reported the maximum number of fresh fatalities at 16, followed by North 24 Parganas (13), Howrah (5), South 24 Parganas (2) and Hooghly (1). Of the 44 deaths, 39 were due to the comorbidities where COVID-19 was incidental, it said Kolkata accounted for the highest number of new coronavirus cases at 662, followed by North 24 Parganas (642), South 24 Parganas (167), Howrah (148) and Hooghly (121), it said.
As a poll sop, CM Mamata Banerjee, on December 3 announced that cost of RT-PCR tests will be cut to Rs 950 from the earlier Rs 1,250 in private hospitals across the state. Meanwhile, the Supreme Court is also hearing a plea seeking to cap the cost of RT-PCR tests at Rs 400.