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Fact Check: Shiv Sena mouthpiece Saamana alleges government will provide free COVID-19 vaccines only in Bihar. Read the truth here

Just because BJP announced free COVID-19 vaccine in Bihar election manifesto, it does not mean other states won't get it as alleged by the opposition parties

In an editorial piece on Shiv Sena mouthpiece Saamana, the party brazenly peddled lies to criticise the BJP for its announcement of providing free vaccine of COVID-19 to the residents of Bihar as one of its promises ahead of the state assembly elections. Hitting out at the BJP, the Saamana editorial alleged that the vaccine will be available only for the residents of Bihar and questioned the central government if the rest of the states in the country are in Pakistan for not receiving the vaccine.

Shiv Sena alleges other states in the country won’t be receiving COVID-19 vaccine

“What exactly is the policy of the BJP? The Prime Minister promised that caste, religion, province, politics would not factor in the vaccine distribution. But now the BJP leaders have assumed a strange role ahead of the Bihar assembly elections. They are offering free vaccine to the residents of Bihar. The citizens in the rest of the states do not live in Pakistan,” Shiv Sena said in its scathing Saamana article while noting that the polls will be the first full-fledged elections in the country amidst the ongoing pandemic.

It further asked if the non-BJP ruled states in the country should ask Russian President Vladimir Putin for securing vaccines for their citizens for COVID-19.

Are other states not going to receive the COVID-19 vaccine as alleged in Saamana?

The Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Thursday while releasing the BJP manifesto in Bihar for upcoming elections said that the BJP promises free coronavirus vaccines in Bihar, whenever the vaccine is made available. The Union Minister did not explicitly mention that only the residents of Bihar will be eligible for receiving the vaccine if and when it will be released, and certainly did not say that other states won’t get the vaccine.

However, trolls and Congress-supporting ‘online activists’ summoned their fertile imagination to attack the BJP and the Union Minister for the announcement of providing the state residents with a vaccine to one of the most contagious infections without charging a dime for it. Several of them deemed the government’s move of granting free vaccinations to COVID-19 as ‘cruel’. Other detractors sowed confusion by wondering if the vaccine will be made available to other states or not.

Rolling along with the insinuations peddled by internet trolls and journalists harbouring pathological hatred for the BJP, Saamana published an article suggesting that the vaccines won’t be available to other states of the country.

All states will be provided with vaccines and it will be there decision to give free vaccines or charge for it

This myth raging around the vaccine being made available only for Bihar was demolished by BJP IT cell head Amit Malviya, who issued a clarification about the BJP poll promise after half-truths and distortions started doing the rounds on the social media.

He asserted that vaccination is a state subject and explained that like all other immunisation programmes, the Centre will provide vaccines to states at a nominal rate. This will include BJP-ruled and non-BJP ruled states. Then it is up to the states to charge for vaccines or not. Health is a state subject and should BJP come to power in Bihar, they have promised to make the vaccine free. Similarly, non-BJP ruled states like Delhi, Maharashtra, West Bengal can choose to either make vaccines free for all or charge its citizens for the same.

In essence, it will be the individual state’s remit to provide the vaccination for free to its citizens or charge an amount for it. Bihar is not getting special treatment from Centre ahead of elections. Centre will give the vaccine, whenever it is developed, to all states and the state governments will decide whether to make it free or charge people for the same.

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Staff reporter at OpIndia

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