By Pragya Kaushika
New Delhi [India], January 11 (ANI): In a much awaited interaction with Prime Minister Narendra Modi ahead of vaccination drive that is scheduled to begin on January 16, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday reportedly inquired about the central government's guidelines to be followed during vaccination period.
If vaccines' efficacy is proven Banerjee is reportedly ready to follow the central government's guidelines on it.
According to sources, Banerjee also wanted to know about how to procure vaccine for others who will not get covered under quota.
Sources said the Bengal CM had asked if there are any side effects and what would be the price of the vaccine that the state government wants to procure for the common people.
Also, she asked whether there is a need for a COVID-19 calendar.
The CM, according to the sources, also briefed PM Modi that Bengal has completed all requirements for COVID-19 vaccination preparation and data for West Bengal has also been uploaded in the official portal.
Sources said Banerjee had requested to include transport workers in the central quota for free vaccine.
PM Modi, in his response to Banerjee's query, stated that after the first three crore vaccinations, all states will discuss again to decide the next course of action and work at hand.
He also said it is better to have one agency to procure vaccine.
After Banerjee, Puducherry Chief Minister V Narayanasamy, too, has made a suggestion that confidence-building measures through media be given higher priority, sources added.
The central government had on Saturday said the COVID-19 vaccination drive in the country will start from January 16.
The decision was taken at a meeting, in which Prime Minister Narendra Modi reviewed the status of COVID-19 in the country and preparedness of states and Union Territories for vaccination against the disease.
A statement from Prime Minister's Office (PMO) said priority will be given to the healthcare workers and the frontline workers estimated to be around three crores followed by those above 50 years of age and the under-50 population groups with co-morbidities, which is around 27 crores.
"After the detailed review, it was decided that in view of the forthcoming festivals including Lohri, Makar Sankranti, Pongal, Magh Bihu, the COVID-19 vaccination will start from January 16, 2021," a PMO statement said on Saturday.
Emergency Use Authorisation or Accelerated Approval has been granted by the national regulator for two vaccines - Covishield and Covaxin - which have established safety and immunogenicity, the statement said. (ANI)