West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday told a media channel that the state had been asking for more Covid-19 vaccines, but was not being provided with the shots. However, central government sources told News18 that as of March 17, Bengal had been supplied 52.90 lakh vaccine doses of both Covishield and Covaxin. Out of them, 30.89 lakh had been administered to the public, and 22.01 lakh shots were still left for use.
Banerjee had skipped a meeting presided over by Prime Minister Narendra Modi with CMs of different states on Covid-19 response in the country. State Chief Secretary Alapan Bandyopadhyay, who attended the meeting, raised the issue of the need for more vaccine doses in Bengal.
A state official said Banerjee could not attend the meeting as she was busy campaigning for the state elections. The Covid-19 situation has been deteriorating in some parts of the country, raising concern over a possible second wave. The Centre has urged the states concerned to step up containment efforts wherever needed.
Modi on Wednesday expressed concern over a rise in Covid-19 cases in parts of the country and called for “quick and decisive” steps to check the “emerging second peak”. In a virtual interaction with state chief ministers over the pandemic situation and the ongoing vaccination drive, Modi said in states like Maharashtra, Punjab, and Madhya Pradesh the number of cases has seen a rise while nearly 70 districts in the country have seen an increase in the positivity rate by over 150 per cent of late.
“If we do not stop it here, then a condition for a nationwide outbreak may emerge,” he said and called for quick and decisive steps to stop it. The confidence brought by India’s fight against the pandemic so far should not cause carelessness, he said and asked chief ministers to take measures, including more testing, enforcement of preventive measures as well as an increase in the number of vaccination centres to curb the virus.
People should not be put on panic-mode but need to ensure that they get rid of this problem as well, he said. “Test, track and treat” should be taken as seriously now as it has been for over a year since the outbreak, he added. The Prime Minister reiterated that RT PCR tests should make up for over 70 per cent of overall Coronavirus testing while noting that states like Chhattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh, Kerala and Odisha have been mostly dependent on antigen tests.
Modi also spoke against the wastage of vaccines and called for more vaccination centres. India has put up a strong fight against the Coronavirus so far, and it is being cited as an example in the world, he said, asserting that the country’s recovery rate is over 96 per cent and fatality rate among the lowest.