India Inc would like to be involved in the Covid-19 vaccination programme, the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) said on Thursday. Asking the government to allow Indian industry to help ramp up the vaccination drive, CII said this way the target of vaccinating priority groups can be achieved faster.
CII has suggested that companies be allowed to vaccinate their employees and immediate family, and assist in rolling out the vaccine in surrounding communities as part of corporate social responsibility.
“Such a programme could benefit an additional 100 million workers in the formal sector and local communities by providing access to the vaccine,” CII said in a statement.
Greater participation from the industry would also ensure there is minimum wastage of the vaccines and that their delivery is expedited in an equitable and accessible manner, the industry body said.
While the government has said it would increase private sector participation, Health Minister Harsh Vardhan has clarified vaccines are not ready to be rolled out in the open market yet as they are under emergency use authorisation.
T V Narendran, president designate chairman of CII’s Vaccine Task Force, said the private sector can reach out to sections that can contribute to India’s economic revival. “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.”
CII has also suggested that the industry be allowed to vaccinate and support the government in utilising the available vaccines and amplifying the number of vaccinations.
By opening the vaccination process to the private sector, a large cohort of those willing to take the vaccine would ensure that these are fully utilised within the expiry period, “as all vaccines have a finite period of longevity and the matter of possible expiry of many of these vaccines is of national concern”, the CII added.
It has highlighted in its statement that the second phase of inoculating those over 50 will be especially challenging, since it would need a sharp increase in vaccination sites and vaccinators.
Earlier this month, the health ministry said that 5,912 public hospitals and 1,239 private ones were involved in the vaccination exercise. Vaccine doses were administered to over 9.8 million healthcare and frontline workers till Thursday.