Coronavirus | Mamata writes to PM on surge in cases amid vaccine shortage

Reiterates that States be allowed to buy vaccines directly

Updated - April 18, 2021 10:55 pm IST

Published - April 18, 2021 05:49 pm IST - Kolkata

A medical staff shows the coronavirus vaccine. Photo used for representation purpose only. File

A medical staff shows the coronavirus vaccine. Photo used for representation purpose only. File

Highlighting that the supply of COVID vaccines to West Bengal from the Government of India has been “scare and erratic”, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Sunday wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi urging that the State needs to vaccinate 2.7 crore people and urgently needs 5.4 crore doses of vaccines.

“We request your urgent intervention to ensure that the State gets its requirement of vaccine doses fulfilled at the earliest,” Ms. Banerjee said in her letter.

Ms. Banerjee pointed out that she has written to on February 24, 2021 asking that the State be allowed to purchase vaccines directly with its funds, but was yet to the get requisite clearance yet.

The Chief Minister in her communication points out that that number of COVID cases in the State has began to increase sharply particularly in view of “coming of large number of outsiders to the State for election campaign and other purposes at the behest of some political parties”.

Ms Banerjee, in a number of public meeting, has said the BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi are to be blamed if the COVID cases in the State rise.

On April 17, the State has registered a record 7,713 infections in the past 24 hours and 34 deaths. The surge of COVID-19 cases continues in the State as it in midst of a marathon eight phase elections with three phases yet to go.

On Sunday, Union Home Minister Amit Shah and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee held multiple public meetings with large number of people in the Assembly seats going to polls in the later phases. The Trinamool Congress has urged the ECI on clubbing of the remaining phases of polls. The ECI has barred political parties from campaigning in evening and increased the silent time ahead of every phase from 48 hours to 72 hours

In the letter the Chief Minister has cited that the supply of essential medicines like Remedesvir and Tocilizumab ( Actemera) is extremely scarce and uncertain today. “We need around 6,000 vials of Remedesvir and 1,000 vials of Tocilizumab daily. However, at present only 1,000 vials of Remedesvir is available daily and no fresh supply of Tocilizumab is coming,” the letter states, urging the Prime Minister to ensure steady supply of essential medicines as soon as possible.

The third issue which the Chief Minister highlighted in her communication was the supply of oxygen which she said must be assured and certain. Ms Banerjee said the public sector SAIL is meeting the State’s need at the moment and urged the PM to instruct them to maintain steady supplies.

Seeking cooperation and support from the Prime Minister, Ms. Banerjee said the State government is “willing to extend its resources to the fullest in tandem with the Centre to tackle the pandemic which the country is facing and to overcome it”.

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