Stampede at COVID vaccination centre in Bengal, 25 injured


DHUPGURI: At least 25 people were injured in West Bengal’s Jalpaiguri district on Tuesday after hundreds of local residents tried to enter a vaccination centre together, leading to a stampede, police said.

Six of them were critically injured in the incident, and they are undergoing treatment at Jalpaiguri Sadar Hospital, a senior officer said.

“As soon as the main gate of Dhupguri Health Centre was opened, several people tried to get inside the facility pushing each other. A stampede-like situation arose there. Several women were injured. We are probing the matter,” the officer said.

Locals claimed that hundreds of people queued outside the vaccination centre since morning and social distancing protocols went for a toss.

Asked about what led to the stampede, the officer said, “We are probing the matter. According to a preliminary investigation, those who were in the queue tried to enter the centre in the apprehension of a shortage of vaccine doses.”

The inoculation programme at the facility has been stopped following the incident, he added.

The state’s COVID-19 toll rose to 18,447 after 13 more patients succumbed to the virus on Tuesday, a bulletin released by the health department said.

The coronavirus tally mounted to 15,21,342 with 640 fresh cases, it said.

The state now has 8,815 active cases, while 15,21,342 people have recovered from the disease so far, with the discharge rate improving to 98.24 per cent.

The single-day deaths include four fatalities from North 24 Parganas and three in the metropolis.

West Bengal has tested 1,70,01,048 samples for COVID-19 thus far, including 33,118 since Monday, the bulletin added.