Bengal, Jan 10: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Sunday announced that the state government will provide free COVID vaccine to the people of the state. The state government is making arrangements to facilitate the administration of the COVID-19 vaccine free of cost.

I am happy to announce that our government is making arrangements to facilitate the administration of COVID-19 vaccine to all the people of the state without any cost,” she said in a statement.

The Chief Minister’s announcement comes months ahead of the Assembly elections in the state, due in April-May later this year.

Last week, India’s drugs regulator gave its nod to two vaccines for coronavirus — manufactured by the Serum Institute, and indigenously developed Covaxin of Bharat Biotech, for restricted emergency use in the country.

CM Mamata to facilitate free COVID vaccine for people of Bengal

The Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) granted the approval based on recommendations by a COVID-19 Subject Expert Committee (SEC) of the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO).

After adequate examination, CDSCO has decided to accept the recommendations of the Expert Committee and accordingly, vaccines of M/s Serum and M/s Bharat Biotech are being approved for restricted use in emergencies,” DCGI Dr. VG Somani inform in media.

As per reports, the vaccination drive in West Bengal is expected to begin by next Thursday. First doses of the COVID vaccine are likely to be administered to healthcare workers of Bengal by January 14, according to the state health department.

On Friday, another round of dry run in all states and Union territories except for Uttar Pradesh and Haryana were conducted to ensure efficient planning and management for vaccine delivery.