The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on April 7 permitted COVID-19 vaccinations to be held in workplaces with about 100 willing and enable beneficiaries. This step is crucial, as it is the first instance of the vaccine being delivered to recipients outside of a hospital or healthcare setting.
The government aims to see such an arrangement roll out from April 11.
The Ministry has issued a set of guidelines for the same. "Organising vaccination at Work Place will not only be convenient to the staff at Work Places but also help to avoid travel and hence reducing the risk of exposure to COVID-19 virus", the guidelines states.
The ministry statement also states, "A substantial proportion of population aged between 45-59 years (in some cases up to 65 years) are in the organized sector of the economy. They are involved in formal occupation in offices (government and private), in manufacturing and services etc."
Currently in India, all above the age of 45 are eligible to receive the vaccine.
The district magistrate would chair a district task force, and the Municipal Commissioner an urban task force. From there, they would identify potential employers suitable to receive the vaccination. From the employer's side, a senior staff member will be appointed 'nodal officer' to coordinate with health authorities and vaccination centres, and would also be responsible to provide physical and IT infrastructure for vaccination.
How would beneficiaries be identified?
- They would have to be above the age of 45.
- The beneficiaries would have to be registered on the COWIN app.
- Family members of beneficiaries and outsiders would not be permitted to participate in such a drive.
How would the vaccines be delivered?
- Each private/government workplace would be tagged with its closest private/government COVID-vaccination centre (CVC), respectively.
- The CVC would be responsible for administering the doses, and would send a team of 1 doctor, 1 vaccine administrator and 3 vaccine officers to aid with operations and logistics. The team could be increased in case of demand.
- Vaccine session can be planned once at least 50 beneficiaries register for vaccination.
- The workplace would have to provide three rooms or areas for the vaccination drive - one each for waiting, vaccination delivery and observation.
Administering the vaccines
- Only one type of vaccine would be available at the the workplace, so as to avoid mixing up vaccine types of the first dose and second dose of the vaccines.
- Beneficiaries who have received the first dose of one vaccine will not get the vaccine at the workplace if the vaccine being offered are different.
- Those receiving the vaccine would have to carry some ID proof.
- If the vaccine is being given by a private CVC, the cost would be at par with other CVCs - ₹250.
- Similarly, vaccination drives being organised by government CVCs would be free of cost.
The guidelines can be read here.
India is currently experiencing a second wave of the Coronavirus pandemic, and reported 1,26,838 cases to get to a total of 1,29,29, 339 cases. India has so far administered 9,01,98,673 doses of the vaccine.