The West Bengal government has started sending text messages to doctors in state-run hospitals assuring them that they would get the COVID-19 vaccine free of cost once it is available, officials said. A number of medicos, mostly posted in hospitals in districts, have received the message.
Doctors associations welcomed the initiative saying that it would boost the morale of those treating coronavirus patients. But private doctors should also get it and the government should give importance to provide financial assistance it had promised to family members of healthcare workers who succumbed to COVID-19 while treating patients, they said.
"As a Covid warrior, you have been there for the patients, taking care of them. Honouring this contribution, the West Bengal government ensures that the Covid vaccines will reach you on time and free of cost. Wish you and your family well. Stay healthy," the message written in Bengali said. Protect the Warriors, an organisation of doctors from both public and private healthcare sectors welcomed the initiative.
"But we must say that the state government should also ensure that private practitioners receive the Covid vaccine," the organisation's treasurer Anirban Dalui said. Officials said that the state government has prepared a chart of doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers in the state, who will get the vaccine for COVID-19 soon after it is rolled out.
"But the government should ensure financial assistance to family members of those who have lost their lives due to the disease as well as to those who got infected while treating coronavirus patients," the general secretary of Association of Health Service Doctors, Manas Gumta, said.