Make sure Covaxin accepted globally, people facing travel restrictions: Mamata to Centre

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(Eds: Adding details) Kolkata, Jun 23 (PTI) West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday urged the Centre to immediately take steps to ensure that people vaccinated with Covaxin are not restricted from travelling to foreign countries.

Speaking to reporters at state secretariat Nabanna, Banerjee claimed that Covaxin has also created problems with neighbouring Bangladesh and Brazil.

'Covaxin has not been authorised by foreign countries and not accepted there. Several students, aspiring for higher studies abroad, are facing difficulties in travelling because they have taken the Covaxin doses,' she said.

'Covaxin is the brainchild of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and it has even created problems with Brazil and Bangladesh,' Banerjee claimed.

The chief minister said that those who have taken Covishield doses are not facing any problem.

'Either immediately get Covaxin authenticated by the World Health Organisation (WHO) or take other steps so that Covaxin is accepted globally,' she said.

Banerjee also asked Chief Secretary HK Dwidevi to write to the Union Health Secretary and Cabinet Secretary regarding the matter.

She said that her government procured and provided Covishield doses to the people of the state.

Most of the countries are seeking complete vaccination certificates from visitors to allow them entry.

Banerjee also took on the Centre, pointing out the gap between PM's announcement of the universal vaccination programme and the implementation of it on June 21.

'Fifteen days were lost... Can you imagine! Who is responsible for this? Why will the opposition play with a disease? I think BJP is a big disease for everybody. They cannot digest the people's verdict, nor can they accept people's agitation. Don't you think they should be ashamed?' she said.

The chief minister also slammed BJP national president JP Nadda for alleging that the opposition is playing politics with the vaccination process.

'I don't understand why Nadda is saying this. Is he aware of the facts? 'They (BJP) were just interested in Bengal elections and after the polls they wanted to divide Bengal. To implement that policy they did not allow people to take precautions before the second wave. They did not do anything for six to eight months,' she alleged.

Banerjee alleged that the BJP-led central government was responsible for the second wave.

'They did not give vaccines to West Bengal properly.

However, there are some BJP states that are getting a good number of vaccines. In Gujarat, there are BJP party offices from where vaccines are being distributed,' she claimed. PTI SCH SOM SOM

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