Top IT firms in India are all set to cover their employees’ vaccination costs as the country expands its vaccination drive. With the rollout of the coronavirus vaccine for the general public, several large information technology (IT) services companies including, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), Infosys, Accenture, RPG Group and public-sector bank State Bank of India (SBI) have announced mass immunisation plan for employees and their families.
Several companies, including autos-to-technology conglomerate Mahindra Group and consumer goods giant ITC Ltd, had already started considering buying Covid-19 vaccines for their employees as early as in January.
The Indian government on March 1, began the second phase of the COVID-19 vaccination roll-out process, which includes citizens above 60 years of age and 45 to 59 years with specified co-morbidities. The government has also asked private hospitals serving as vaccination centres to charge Rs 250 per dose of a vaccine.
So far, the government has procured the two Covid-19 vaccines- AstraZeneca’s shot being developed by the Serum Institute, and Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin – at fixed prices and distributed them free of cost.
Meanwhile, in a bid to ramp up the COVID-19 vaccination drive in India, the Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Wednesday announced that the time cap on hospitals has been removed.
“The government has lifted the time restriction to increase the speed of vaccination. People can now get vaccinated 24×7 according to their convenience. Prime Minister Narendra Modi understands the value of health as well as the time of citizens,” Harsh Vardhan had tweeted in Hindi.
Earlier on Tuesday, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said that the timeline of vaccinating the beneficiaries from 9 am to 5 pm has been done away with and it is up to the hospitals to decide whether they want to continue administering the vaccines even after that.
"Co-WIN 2.0 does not provide 9 am-5 pm vaccination sessions. It has done away with that timeline. If a hospital has the capacity, the system permits it to do vaccination even after 5 pm in consultation with the state government. This has been briefed both to the state governments as well as the private and government hospitals," he said.
On March 3, over 9.94 lakh beneficiaries were vaccinated, the ministry said. Of these, 8.31 lakh beneficiaries were given the first shot of the two-dose regime.