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Assembly election 2021: Health dept seeks list of polling staff for COVID-19 vaccination

Assembly election 2021: Health dept seeks list of polling staff for COVID-19 vaccination

Kolkata: In a bid to ensure the safety of polling personnel, the state Health department has sought a list of such personnel from the district administration so that they can be vaccinated before the Assembly


The number of booths this year has increased from 78,903 to 1,01,790 in the wake of the parameters of Covid -19 health protocols.

This year, around 4,76,000 polling personnel will be required. The number is around 1 lakh more than the figure for last election. There are also around 15,000 micro observers, who also need to be vaccinated.

The Election Commission will start the first phase of training for polling personnel from February 19 and vaccination may start from February 22 so that it can be completed before the polling day. State Health Secretary N S Nigam has already held a virtual meeting with the district administration to prepare a list of the employees to be engaged in election related duties and upload it so that the state can start the process of vaccination at the earliest.

A letter by Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare stated that the National Expert Group on Vaccination and Administration for Covid-19 (NEGVAC) had recommended that all officials and employees who would be engaged in election related duties in the forthcoming Assembly polls would be treated as Front Line Workers and would be administered with Covid-19 vaccine.

The ministry has asked the state government to identify such people and upload the details on CoWIN portal.

The professors have also been assigned election duties this year to cater to the huge requirement of polling personnel. "Vaccination is undoubtedly good but as far as I know the process of vaccination is not mandatory. It is optional and any person who is unwilling to take a vaccine will be allowed that option. I think this will be applicable in case of professors deployed in election duty too," said Samar Mondal, Professor of Philosophy in Jadavpur University.

"The state government should ensure that there is a gap of 28 days between two doses of vaccines. So the schedule should be prepared in a way that everybody deployed for election duty gets both the doses," Saugata Basu, General Secretary of West Bengal Government School Teachers' Association said.

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