Ramakrishna Mission writes to Centre, seeks 4 lakh Covishield doses at discounted price
Ramakrishna Mission has written to the Centre seeking 4 lakh Covishield doses at a discounted price of Rs 150 a jab to launch a mass vaccination drive in all 23 districts of Bengal and parts of the Northeast.
All states procure Covishield from the Centre at Rs 300 a dose and private players buy it from the manufacturer — the Pune-based Serum Institute of India — at Rs 600 a dose.
Swami Atmapriyananda, the pro-chancellor of the Ramakrishna Mission Vivekananda Educational and Research Institute and coordinator of the Covid vaccination project of the Mission, has urged Union health minister Mansukh Mandaviya for a “special concession to procure the vaccines from the Serum Institute India” to vaccinate around 2 lakh people (with both doses) as part of the order’s “Free Covid Vaccination Programme”.
The Centre is yet to respond to the appeal, made earlier this month, said a monk of the order.
“We want to reach out to the masses in remote areas of the districts with free vaccines in keeping with the Ramakrishna Mission’s ideology of ‘selfless service’,” said Swami Atmapriyananda.
“The idea is to aid the state government in offering vaccine cover to all with the motto of ‘Siva jnane jiva seva or serving living beings as embodiments of divinity or God’.”
Monks of the order said two organisations — the Bangalore-based Atyati Technologies and Bagri Foundation — have promised Rs 6 crore to the Ramakrishna Mission for its mass vaccination programme.
Two other philanthropic organisations — the Calcutta-based Vivekananda Swasthya Seva Sangha and the Bangalore-based Karuna Trust —have assured the Mission of logistic support by providing doctors, nurses, support staff, ambulances and mobile vans to conduct the mass vaccination programme.
Ramakrishna Mission wants to utilise its branch centres and its extensive network to organise vaccination camps.
In a letter to the Union health secretary, Rajesh Bhushan, Ramakrishna Mission has said it wants to immediately take up the mass vaccination programme in Bengal.
“We propose to vaccinate all in the age group of 18+ and try to cover particularly the rural parts of Bengal and the Northeastern region on mobile vans which have been named ‘Vivekananda Covid Vaccination Centre on Wheels’,” the letter to Bhushan says.