Access to free COVID-19 vaccine was one of the poll promises made by the ruling NDA during the state Assembly election last year
Patna: Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar on Monday received the first shot of COVID-19 vaccine in Patna and urged people of the state to get themselves inoculated, reaffirming his government’s decision to provide the jabs free of cost, including at private facilities.
Kumar received the shot at IGIMS hospital in presence of Health minister Mangal Pandey and appealed to the people not to let their guard down in the wake of COVID-19active cases coming down drastically in the state, and continue to practice social distancing and wearing of masks.
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He also said arrangements have been made at the state-run super specialty hospital for inoculation of all members of the state legislature.
“Initially it was proposed that MLAs and MLCs be given the jabs at the Vidhan Sabha premises itself. But, since better logistics are available here, they will be requested to take the shots here”, Kumar said.
He also underscored the fact that the vaccines were manufactured “within the country” and were in great demand abroad because of their high quality.
Later, talking to reporters, he said in reply to queries that “all citizens over 60 years of age or those younger but with comorbidities shall be accorded priority. Vaccines will be provided free of cost to all”.
“The state will bear the expenses, in case of those who get the jabs at any of the designated private hospitals”.
Free vaccination for COVID-19 was one of the promises made by the ruling NDA during the recent elections and a proposal to the effect received the Cabinet’s nod upon formation of the new government in November last year.
Kumar, who took the first dose of vaccine on his birthday, said on the advise of doctors he will take the mandatory second dose on 31 March.
“I was under the impression that second dose needs to be taken exactly after 28 days of the first one, but doctors said it can be taken any time after completion of 28 days and fixed 31 March for the second round of vaccination for me,” he said.
Asked how he felt after receiving the jab, the chief minister said, “I am returning with good health as I had come.”
Deputy Chief Ministers Tarkishore Prasad and Renu Devi, besides senior ministers like Vijay Kumar Chaudhary and Bijendra Prasad Yadav, also received the first dose of vaccine at Indira Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences (IGIMS) in the state capital.
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