Free vaccination to all aged above 18 in Bihar, Nitish govt extends poll promises to vast population

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(Eds: adding detail) Patna, Apr 21 (PTI) The Bihar government on Wednesday announced that it will provide free COVID vaccination to all aged above 18, extending the facility provided to citizens of the state of other categories so far.

Chief Minister Nitish Kumar informed this through a tweet message.

Kumar said the state government will bear the cost of administering jabs to all citizens of the state above 18 years of age starting from May 1.

From the beginning the state government has been providing vaccine to its natives of all the listed categories above 45 years of age without any payment, in the government as well as in the designated private hospitals across the state.

Free vaccination was announced by the NDA in the Bihar assembly elections in November-December last year and it is being fulfiled by the Nitish Kumar ministry.

Free vaccination announcement even for population above 18 years of age drew praise even from the main opposition RJD.

Leader of the opposition Tejashwi Yadav, however, tried to score political point over the issue, claiming the decision was due to the opposition demand.

'Would like to know the plan how around 10 crore population of Bihar will be inoculated? hope this doesn't turn out an empty announcement like the one made to provide jobs to 19 lakh people,' Tejashwi said in a statement attaching Kumar's tweet message.

The big announcement by the chief minister came at a time when Bihar is witnessing second surge of coronavirus like rest of the country.

As per the health bulletin issued Wednesday, a total of 12,222 more citizens tested positive, while 56 lost their lives due to the deadly disease.

The state has total 3,54,281 COVID cases while the tally of fatalities is 1897 since the outbreak of the virus last year.

Bihar has 63,745 active cases of coronavirus at present.

On the vaccination front, Bihar administered jabs to 75,671 citizens Wednesday, while 62,67,491 beneficiaries of the ongoing categories have been inoculated so far. PTI ANW SNS SNS