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Industry seeks participation in COVID-19 vaccination programme: CII

·2-min read

New Delhi, Feb 18 (PTI) Indian industry has sought participation in the ongoing COVID-19 vaccination programme in order to help the government reach its identified target priority groups quicker, which will be critical for getting the workforce back to work and the economy back on track, the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) said on Thursday.

The industry body has suggested that industry be involved fully in the massive inoculation drive to ensure that the vaccines reach those that most needed it in an accessible and equitable manner, with the joint support of private and public sector towards this national mission.

To action the effective roll out of vaccines, the CII has constituted a high-level taskforce on Covid-19 vaccines with the objective of galvanising industry support for distribution and inoculation of the employees of member companies and also in the larger community where members have a role to play through CSR interventions.

'Industry can supplement and contribute to the government's programme with appropriate checks and balances, throughout the envisaged three phases, so as to further reach out the vaccine to those sections of the population who can contribute to the economic revival of the country,' the chairman of CII's Vaccine Task Force, TV Narendran, said in a statement.

Taking cognisance of the fact that the second phase of inoculating those over 50 years will be a particularly challenging task, with requirements for significantly increased vaccinating sites and vaccinators, the CII has come out with three key recommendations.

'It is suggested that for ensuring faster rollout and for providing confidence to workers at the workplace, business enterprises could be permitted to vaccinate their employees and immediate family members,' CII said.

It is estimated that such a programme could benefit an additional 100 million workers in the formal sector and local communities by providing access to the vaccine, it noted.

'Secondly, CII suggests that private providers, with appropriate checks and balances, be allowed to vaccinate and support the Government to both utilise the available vaccines as well as amplify the number of vaccinations with all necessary norms and compliances,' the industry body said.

The exercise will allow the Government to reach its identified target priority groups quicker, which will be critical for getting the workforce back to work and the economy back on track, it added.

By opening the vaccination process to the private sector, the large cohort of those willing to take the vaccines would enable full utilisation of the vaccines within the expiry period, CII noted.

Union health minister Harsh Vardhan on Monday announced that coronavirus vaccination for those above 50 years will begin in the next 2-3 weeks. PTI MSS MR