COVID-19 vaccination kicked off in Bihar on Saturday with five staff members of a super specialty government hospital here becoming the first ones to receive the shots in presence of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar. Kumar was at the Indira Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences (IGIMS), a state-run hospital modelled after AIIMS, where cleaning staff Ram Babu got the first jab, followed by ambulance driver Amit Kumar.
Others vaccinated in presence of the chief minister were lab technician Sonu Pandit, junior resident Sanant Kumar and nursing officer Karamveer Singh Rathore. Kumar gave away citation letters to the first five recipients.
About 10 kms away, at Patna Medical College Hospital, which is Bihar's largest public health care facility, inoculation began in presence of Sanjay Jaiswal, the state president of the ruling BJP. Mohd Iqbal Ahmed, a 47-year-old ward attendant, became the first staff member at PMCH to receive the shot.
According to the state government, altogether 30,000 vaccine doses will be administered across the state every day in the current phase of inoculation. A total of 300 centres have been set up for the purpose and 100 people will be vaccinated at each of these on a daily basis. State Health Minister Mangal Pandey has said close to 4.5 lakh people will be covered in the first phase of vaccination.
The Bihar Cabinet had recently given its nod for free-of-cost vaccination of its entire population. The same had been promised by the BJP in its manifesto for the assembly elections, which was released here by Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.