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India: From April 11, Centre allows vaccination in public and private workplaces

In a letter to states and union territories, Union Health Ministry has proposed that COVID-19 vaccination sittings may be organised at government and private workplaces. Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan asked additional chief secretaries, principal secretaries and secretaries in the health department of states and UTs to start due discussions with public and private sector employers and management to prepare for workplace coronavirus vaccination drives.

Vaccination centres at workplaces may be started across states and UTs from April 11, Bhushan stated. Arranging vaccination drives at workplaces will not only be available for employees but will also decrease the risk of vulnerability to coronavirus, he added.

From April 1, 2021, the nationwide COVID-19 vaccination initiative has been spread to all citizens aged 45 years or above. A large portion of the population above 45 years of age is employed in the organised sector and works in government and private offices, manufacturing or services, Bhuhsan noted.

“In order to increase the access of vaccine to these populations, COVID-19 vaccination sessions may be organised at workplaces (both public and private) which are having about 100 eligible and willing beneficiaries by tagging these work places with an existing COVID Vaccination Centre (CVC),” Bhushan wrote.

The guidelines for initiating COVID vaccination at workplaces stated that District Task Force (DTF), chaired by District Magistrate and Urban Task Force (UTF) chaired by Municipal Commissioner will identify suitable workplaces after deliberations with related employers or head offices. Workplace administration will appoint a senior staff member as Nodal Officer to coordinate with district health authorities or private CVCs and support vaccination activities. The Nodal Officer will be responsible for the registration of recipients, availability of physical and IT infrastructure, oversight to vaccination, etc.

Employees aged 45 years or more will have to register in Co-WIN portal earlier to vaccination. An on-the-spot registration facility will also be available for them at workplace vaccination centres.

Every government workplace CVC will be marked to the nearest CVC in a government medical facility, whereas private workplace CVCs will be tagged to the nearest CVC in a private medical facility. These medical facilities will be responsible for deploying vaccination teams at workplace CVCs.

Vaccination sittings can begin at workplace CVCs once at least 50 beneficiaries get registered for vaccination. In-charges of the supervising medical facilities will plan vaccination sessions at workplace CVCs. They will also be responsible for providing vaccines to workplace CVCs. The vaccination schedule may be formed and distributed up to 15 days in advance.

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