Hours after the Indian Serum Institute (SII) announced the new prices of its Covishield vaccine, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee questioned its price differential for State and private hospitals.
Responding to a question during a press conference about the price of SII’s fresh vaccine, Banerjee said, “I will write a letter to the Center about its intervention on price differences for State and private hospitals. Why price differences? Is it time to do business? I am not. It’s time to save people’s lives as they suffer from Covid-19. “
Mamata’s response came after SII announced fresh prices for its Covishield vaccine. While the State governments can procure the vaccines at the price of Rs 400 per dose, the private hospitals will get the vaccines at the price of Rs 600 per dose.
“To date, we have given 93 lakhs Covid-19 vaccines in West Bengal and created Rs 100 crore fund for universal vaccination in the State. We have requested 1 crore additional Covid-19 vaccines from the Center, ”he said.
Managing the Covid-19 crisis in the State, he said, “We are increasing beds in secure homes and in Covid hospitals. We are working to alleviate the oxygen crisis and discussions are taking place with service providers. The Election Commission (EC) should have tied up the last few stages of the elections due to Covid’s rising cases. We will ask the EC to allow Covid patients to cast votes by postal vote. ”
When asked about any possibility of a lockdown, she said, “No proposal for a shutdown in West Bengal. Lock-down will not happen in the State. Last year, people had already suffered a lot because of lockouts. Therefore, we have decided to work effectively to contain the virus to avoid lock-down. ”
On April 20, Mamata Banerjee called the Centre’s ‘universal vaccine policy’ decision from May 1, 2021 onwards as a ‘hollow’, ‘without substance’ pledge and a ‘sorry show of evasion of responsibility’ at the time of the crisis.
In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Mamata accused the Center of deviating from its responsibility for making vaccines available to the people of the country.
Her letter reads, “I am informed that on April 19, 2021, the long-delayed‘ universal ’vaccine policy was issued by Central government, which appears to be vacant, without substance and distressed by the evasion of responsibility. by the Central government in the time of crisis. Now when the incidence of Covid’s second wave is spinning like anything, the Center has chosen to tidy up empty rhetoric and withdraw from its responsibility for making vaccines available to the people of the country. “
Mamata alleged that there was a lack of safety and quality assurance norms in announcing the Center (universal vaccine policy) in handling the Covid-19 crisis.
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