Today News Online Service
New Delhi, April 23
As the country faces an unprecedented COVID-19 crisis, the BJP on Friday made promised a free COVID vaccine in West Bengal “as soon as it comes to power in the state”.
“As soon as the BJP government comes to power in West Bengal, COVID-19 vaccine will be provided free of cost to everyone,” the party’s Bengal unit tweeted on Friday.
There are still two phases left in the keenly-fought elections to the state.
Notably, the saffron party had made a similar promise ahead of the Bihar Assembly elections last year.
This comes as the Bharatiya Janata Party government at the Centre under Prime Minister Narendra Modi, under pressure from several state governments to ease age restrictions in view of the spiraling COVID cases in the country, announced that it would open up its vaccination drive to everyone over 18 from May 1. COVID vaccine makers must reserve 50 per cent stock of their supply for the Centre and were free to divide the rest between states and private hospitals at a pre-decided price.
Days after this announcement, the Serum Institute of India announced its new prices: Rs 400 a dose to the state and Rs 600 a dose for private hospitals. The central government will continue to get the vaccine at Rs 150 a dose, which it would use to for its own vaccine programme—at the moment, it gives free vaccines to health care workers, the elderly and people over 45.