West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday called Centre’s plan to vaccinate country’s adult population before the year ends a “hoax”, and asked the central government to immediately procure and supply vaccines to states for free. She also claimed that chief ministers of Delhi, Kerala and Odisha are also in her accord.
“The Centre’s claim that it will vaccinate the entire population above 18 years by 2021-end is just a hoax. The BJP always does this sort of political propaganda. Before the Bihar Assembly elections, they said people would be vaccinated free of cost. But after the election they did nothing. If you don’t have commitment, you only raise the issue to satisfy people temporarily. But temporary solution is not the solution, it’s pollution. It is easy to make speeches,” Ms Banerjee told media.
“If we try to vaccinate all the people of the country, it will automatically take six months to one year. India has a population of 140 crores. It is not a small matter to give vaccines to everyone. I have to vaccinate 10 crore people. Only 1.4 crore people have been vaccinated till now. How is it possible to complete it this year?,” she added.
She also reminded that according to the advisories the people who have recovered from COVID-19 “will have to wait before getting a shot”.
“Also, there is a gap between two doses of the vaccine. So, it is not possible to inoculate everyone by December,” said Ms Banerjee.
On being asked whether she received any letter from Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik saying states should procure and distribute vaccines to states for free she told reporters, “Not only him, Kerala Chief Minister [Pinarayi Vijayan] and Delhi Chief Minister [Arvind Kejriwal] also contacted me. They said the Centre should procure the vaccines. I have already said the Central government should not only procure vaccines but also distribute them to states free of cost.”
The Bengal Chief Minister also claimed that the state does not have enough vaccines as Centre is supplying very few. “West Bengal has a population of 10 crores. Our government spent Rs 150 crores from its own funds for vaccine and got 1.4 crore shots,” she said.