It plans to give jabs to those ‘forcibly exposed to public mingling’, including COVID-19 volunteers, taxi and auto drivers, rickshaw pullers, sex workers and transgenders.
Vegetable sellers, hawkers and taxi and auto drivers as well as rickshaw pullers will be administered vaccines by West Bengal government on a priority basis. It has also decided to roll out vaccines for sex workers, transgenders, journalists and COVID-19 volunteers. The move to vaccinate people “forcibly exposed to public mingling” has been lauded by different sections of society.
“It has been decided that, as per availability of vaccines, which in insufficient, the scarce vaccine available at the disposal of the government of West Bengal may be divided into two streams as detailed below, in terms of decision taken in the State executive committee of the State Disaster Management Authority on 15.5.2021,” a document made public by the State government said. The notification states that two streams include, general for people at large: to be taken care by the Health Department Hospitals and the other groups which are super spreaders public-facing/ forcibly exposed to public mingling: groups that are endangered and potential spreaders.
The second category includes hawkers, retail sellers of vegetables grocery sellers, sex workers and transgender, transport workers including taxi and auto drivers and rickshaw pullers, lawyers, law clerks and court staff. The list also includes COVID-19 volunteers, inmates of social and correctional homes, dealers of essential services and residue section of governmental and para- governmental employees.
The notification entrusts the responsibility of State Health Secretary for appropriation of responsibility among different department for preparation of database of such category and arranging site for vaccination.
On May 2, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee announced that certain sections of the population such as transport workers and journalists will be administered vaccines on a priority basis. The State government notification on May 15 brings in more categories in the list of “people forcibly exposed to public mingling”. The Kolkata Press Club has already started vaccination of journalists as per announcement from May 12.
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