Beneficiaries pose for a photo after receiving shot of Covid-19 vaccine in Bengaluru, on Tuesday.(PTI Photo)
‘Hoax’: Mamata Banerjee on ICMR chief’s ‘Covid-19 doses to all by December’ remark
West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday said that the statement made by Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) chief Dr Balram Bhargava about giving Covid-19 vaccine to the whole country by December is a hoax. Banerjee lashed out at Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led government at the Centre, saying it only finds temporary solution to a problem.
“That (vaccinating all citizens before December 2021) is just a hoax. They just say baseless things,” Banerjee said at a press conference in Kolkata while replying to a question.
“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 crore, it is not a small matter to give vaccine to everyone,” she further said.
The Trinamool Congress (TMC) chief then highlighted the procedural issues involved in inoculating the people.
“There are other factors too. If someone recovers form Covid-19, he/she will have to wait for getting a vaccine shot. Also, there is a gap between two doses of the vaccine. So, it is not possible to inoculate everyone by December,” said Banerjee.
Targeting the BJP, she said, “They promised before Bihar elections that they will give free vaccines to everyone after the elections. But they still haven’t done anything.”
The Bengal chief minister said that the Centre should procure Covid-19 vaccines and provide them to states for free.
“State governments cannot do it. The central government should send the vaccine to the states for free,” said Banerjee, adding, “The state government don’t have enough vaccines, and the Centre supplies very less shots. West Bengal has a popoulation of 10 crore. Our government spent ₹150 crore from its own funds for the vaccine and got 1.4 crore shots.”
“If you don’t have commitment, you only raise the issue to satisfy the people temporarily. But temporary solution is not the solution, it’s pollution. It is easy for bhashan,” said the TMC chief.
Banerjee said many chief ministers like Arvind Kejriwal, Navin Patnaik and Pinarayin Vijayan have raised similar issues.
On Tuesday, Dr Balram Bhargava said India’s vaccination is being ramped up. He mentioned that India is one of the five countries which are producing vaccines and asserted that “there is no shortage of vaccines”.
“Shortage is what you feel if you want to vaccinate the country within a month. The total number of vaccinations done in the country is nearly equivalent to the total number done in the United States and our population is four times the population of the USA. We have to have some patience,” he said at a press conference.
Dr Bhargava said by mid-July or early August, India will have more than enough doses to vaccinate up to 1 crore people per day.