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Key corporates’ workplace jabs take a chunk of city vaccination

A significant percentage of vaccinations carried out in some of India’s biggest cities are of employees of large corporates — mostly in the service sector but some from manufacturing as well — and their families, official data analysed by The Indian Express show.

Between April 7, when the government allowed corporates to vaccinate at workplaces, and Wednesday, a total 69,170 shots had been administered at the campuses of software major Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) at several cities across India.

Bengaluru-based Centum Electronics had conducted 48,313 vaccinations, Infosys 28,493, consulting company Ernst & Young 26,406, and Maruti Suzuki 22,472.

The service economy hubs of Mumbai, Bengaluru, Pune, Hyderabad, Gurgaon, Noida, and Chennai, had conducted approximately 20.36 lakh vaccinations at the workplace — which was more than 12 per cent of the total vaccinations carried out in India’s top seven metros.

The large share of workplace vaccinations by big corporates in total vaccinations in cities is significant in light of the fact that private hospitals — with which corporates typically tie up — will continue to get 25 per cent of the country’s total vaccine pie even after the government’s new vaccination policy comes into force on June 21.

This also raises questions of vaccine inequity as the majority of the workforce in India’s cities belong to the unorganised sectors of the economy.

The government allowed vaccinations at the workplace on April 7, describing it as a “crucial step” that would ease the process of inoculating citizens in the “organised sector of the economy (who) are involved in formal occupation in offices, or manufacturing and services”.

On May 22, the Centre further liberalised the policy for this category, and said that family members and dependents of employees could also be vaccinated at workplace vaccination centres.

The data show that information technology (IT) services companies top the list of vaccine doses administered at the workplace, followed by top global financial consulting firms, and auto, manufacturing, and e-commerce companies.

Three significant trends in India’s mass vaccination programme emerge from the data.

One, the data show that the workplace vaccination policy has accelerated inoculation at these top firms, which contribute significantly to the country’s GDP. At the same time, this success underlines the need for the Centre, which takes over the bulk of vaccine procurement from June 21, to devise a similar policy for those in the unorganised sector, and for vulnerable sections of the population.

Two, at a time when vaccines are in short supply, these large companies have been able to dip into the 25 per cent bucket for the open market easily, due to their financial position and the fact that they are based mostly in the big cities. This again, spotlights the need for the Centre to target specific categories for vaccination from the 75 per cent doses that it will now control.

Three, the data show that a section of the population which already has access to quality healthcare is getting extra protection from aggressive and targeted vaccination on priority. A strategy is needed to similarly target those with limited access to quality health care, which is critical to ward off a potential third wave of coronavirus infections.

Among the top workplace vaccinators in the country, according to available data are:

* IT services: TCS has carried out 69,170 vaccinations at its campuses in Mumbai, Bengaluru, Pune, Chennai, Noida and Gurgaon; Infosys has conducted 28,493 vaccinations in Pune, Chennai, Hyderabad, and Gurgaon; HCL has administered 9,979 shots in Noida; Cognizant, 7,371; Microsoft, 3,163, and Google, 873 vaccinations.

* Consulting firms: Ernst & Young, 26,406 vaccinations in Gurgaon, Mumbai, Chennai; Boston Consulting Group, 25,899 in Mumbai and Gurgaon; Deloitte, 16,844 in Mumbai, Hyderabad, Gurgaon, and Pune; Pricewaterhouse Coopers, 14,788 in Mumbai and Gurgaon; JP Morgan, 1,590; McKinsey, 1,560; and Barclays Global Service,1,826.

* Automobiles: The top workplace vaccinators include Maruti Suzuki (22,472 shots); Tata Motors (11,316); Skoda-Volkswagen (7,090); Mahindra (6,091); Honda (2,130); Mercedes Benz (1,186); and BMW (542).

* Manufacturing: Centum Electronics (48,313); Godrej Industries (9,791); John Deere (6,194); Tata Projects Limited (5,061).

* E-commerce: Amazon has conducted 22,431 vaccinations; Zomato, 11,683 at its campuses in Noida and Gurgaon.


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