WB govt keen on vaccines for Covid-19 warriors

West Bengal govt keen on providing vaccines to all front-line Covid-19 warriors

Sources in the state administration said that discussion had already started at top level of the government in this regard

Representative image. Credit: Reuters.

Even as the Centre has made it clear that health workers would first get the Covid-19 vaccine once it arrives in the market, the West Bengal government is keen on providing it to all front-line Covid-19 warriors such as police and conservancy workers.

Sources in the state administration said that discussion had already started at the top level of the government in this regard.

They further revealed that the state government wanted to be ahead of schedule in preparing the list of recipients of the vaccine. Sources said that the state government was of the opinion that other frontline Covid warriors, such as police personnel and other state government staff, should also get the vaccine on a priority basis.

Public health experts associated with the state government are hopeful that in the second phase of vaccination, the Centre would allow these frontline Covid warriors to be included in the list for recipients of the vaccine.

Several such Covid warriors succumbed to the virus in the last seven months. While a Deputy Magistrate in charge of overseeing the return of migrant workers from Bengal during the nationwide lockdown died in July, many police personnel and block development officers had lost their lives due to the infection.

The increased activities allowed under the Unlock V guidelines and the larger number of people on the streets during the festive seasons have become a cause of concern for the state government. Moreover, the possibility of a second wave of infection during winter is another key reason why the state government wants to prepare a comprehensive blueprint for the distribution of the vaccine.

The Centre on Friday asked the state governments to prepare state and district-level committees to review preparations for setting up cold chains, operational planning and setting up strategies for state-specific challenges such as difficulty in reaching remote areas. It also suggested the state governments set up a state steering committee headed by the Chief Secretary, a state task force headed by the Additional Chief Secretary and a district task force led by the district magistrate.