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Mamata writes to PM Modi seeking adequate supply of COVID vaccines, medicines to Bengal

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Kolkata, Apr 18: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Sunday sought Prime Minister Narendra Modi''s intervention to ensure an adequate supply of COVID vaccines, medicines and oxygen to the state, which has been reporting a sharp spike in fresh infections.

In her two-page letter to the prime minister, Banerjee said that vaccines, medicines and oxygen are of paramount importance to contain the second COVID wave.

Mamata Banerjee

Noting that vaccination is of top importance in densely populated West Bengal and particularly Kolkata, she, however, lamented, "Unfortunately for us, the supply of vaccines from the Centre has been scarce and erratic, which is negatively affecting our vaccination programmes."

Claiming that West Bengal is one of the best performers in vaccination in the country, she said that the state is, however, now suffering due to an uncertain supply of vials from the Centre.

"We have to vaccinate around 2.7 crore people for which we need 5.4 crore doses. We request for an urgent intervention to ensure that the state gets its requirement of vaccine doses fulfilled at the earliest," she wrote.

She complained that her government wants to purchase the doses from state funds and had earlier written to the prime minister about it but did not receive "requisite clearance" yet.

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Banerjee also urged Modi to ensure a steady supply of essential medicines to combat the surge in coronavirus cases.

"The supply of essential medicines like Remdesivir and Tocilizumab is extremely scarce and uncertain today, which has been a matter of grave concern for the doctors here. We need around 6,000 vials of Remdesivir and 1,000 vials of Tocilizumab every day.

"Presently, only 1,000 vials of Remdesivir are available every day and no fresh supply of Tocilizumab is coming. It may be seen that the relevant authorities step up their efforts to ensure a steady supply of these most essential supplies of medicines as soon as possible," she said.

Banerjee also requested the prime minister to increase the oxygen supply to the state.

"The state is willing to extend its resources to the fullest in tandem with the Centre to tackle the pandemic the country is facing now and overcome it," she added.

West Bengal, where an eight-phase assembly election is underway, registered its highest single-day spike of 7,713 new cases on Saturday.

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