Thursday, December 8

Got free jabs at West Bengal hospitals, now they help back with relief fund

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When brothers Bishnu and Badrinarayan Mittal got their second dose of Covishield at Sambhunath Pandit Hospital last week, they were happy for the free jabs. Back home, the brothers wondered if they contribute something somewhere against the free doses they got. The duo became the first among people who got free shots from government vaccination centres to contribute to the West Bengal State Emergency Relief Fund (WBSERF).“We availed of the service for free at a government hospital since no private facility is offering the second dose. So we thought why not contribute that amount somewhere,” said Bishnu Mittal, a spice trader. Son Ajay Mittal then suggested WBSERF.

Like the Mittals, more recipients who could have afforded the vaccine at a private facility but have taken it from government hospitals have started chipping in. “Even as I feel that free vaccines should be availed only by people who cannot afford it, my mother and mother-in-law had to take their second dose from a government facility for free in the absence of supply in private hospitals. If more people contribute to WBSERF, it would help the government in purchasing more doses,” said Bhowanipore resident Vijay Agarwal, who runs a travel business.

Both Covishield and Covaxin doses were being charged Rs 250 per shot in private facilities before May 1 when the supply came from the Centre. Private hospitals are now buying a dose of Covaxin and Covishield for Rs 1,200 and Rs 600, respectively.
“I saw many people coming in cars for getting the vaccine at government hospitals. It is evident that they could have afforded the vaccine. I appeal to them to contribute the amount they would have spent for the vaccine to state fund,” said Hiren Patel, who runs a lab research chemical business.

Since May 1, most private facilities closed their inoculation drive for days. Only a couple of private centres have procured their vaccines, forcing people who had got their first shot at private facilities to seek the service at government centres.

Source: Times of India

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