Worried about India’s vaccine stockpile expiring if the COVID-19 vaccine roll-out is not ramped up quickly, industry association CII has urged the government to allow private sector health providers to administer vaccines and let businesses inoculate their employees’ and communities around their operations.
This could help vaccinate 100 million people and allow the Centre to reach identified target priority groups quicker, that would be critical to get the workforce back to work and the economy back on track, the apex chamber said.
“As all vaccines have a finite period of longevity and the matter of possible expiry of many of these vaccines is of national concern, it is recommended that all stakeholders must contribute in a manner that all vaccines available are well utilised and well in time.
“By opening the vaccination process to private sector, the large cohort of those willing to take the vaccines would enable full utilisation of the vaccines within the expiry period,” it stressed.
“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… the vaccine to those sections of the population who can contribute to the economic revival of the country,” said T.V. Narendran, president designate, CII.
COVID-19 task force
Mr. Narendran heads a high-level taskforce set up by CII on COVID-19 vaccines to galvanise industry support for distribution and inoculation of employees of member firms.
Stressing that the second phase of the vaccination programme to cover those over 50 years will be a particularly challenging task, CII has recommended that the government consider industry participation to speed up the roll-out.
Permitting firms to vaccinate employees and immediate family members and help surrounding communities as part of their corporate social responsibility could help an additional 100 million get the vaccine.
Private health providers must also be allowed to vaccinate people, with appropriate checks and balances, CII said.