3 min read.Updated: 26 May 2021, 11:31 PM ISTAyushman Baruah,Supriya Roy,Tarush Bhalla
Firms do not lack capital, but access to vax is a problem
The Centre had allowed private sector entities to import vaccines after getting approvals from health ministry
Technology firms across the spectrum, from information technology (IT) services companies such as Wipro and Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) to e-commerce major Amazon and food delivery platform Zomato, are focusing on vaccinating their employees and ensuring business continuity.
The companies do not lack capital or intent, but access to vaccines remains a problem. Earlier this month, the Centre had allowed private sector entities to import vaccines after getting approvals from the Union health ministry, to accelerate the vaccination drive.
Most companies that Mint reached out to were not forthcoming on their vaccine procurement plans. However, quite a few have started inoculating staff both inside and outside office premises.
Bengaluru-based Wipro has ordered a total of 100,000 doses of Covishield, Covaxin and Sputnik V and expects to receive the first tranche of vaccines exclusively for its employees and dependents in early June. The company has partnered with top-tier hospitals across 140 locations, both on and off campus, to vaccinate its staff, it said. Wipro has 197,000 employees, with a majority in India.
Mumbai-based TCS, India’s largest IT services exporter, had set up vaccination centres at its offices in select cities in early May and is now scaling this up to more than 100 centres, including its offices across 21 cities and hospital partners in 33 cities. “We have already started vaccination in some offices and are set to start the drive on a large scale. Registrations have begun," a TCS spokesperson said. The firm has made alternative arrangements for staff not having access to centres, through partnerships with 650 hospitals.
The company is “looking at multiple routes (to procure vaccines)", the spokesperson said. “We are tying up with hospitals and providers across India for this exercise and are procuring doses via suppliers to ensure all our associates and their families in India are covered," he said.
HCL Technologies has started vaccinating its 160,000 employees and their families at clinics set up by its sister concern, HCL Healthcare, at its Noida, Lucknow, and Chennai campuses. It is also setting up more centres in phases, a company spokesperson said, adding that it is in discussions with jab manufacturers and top-tier hospitals to scale up its drive.
Another Noida-based firm, Coforge (formerly NIIT), which has more than 10,000 staffers, has over the last few weeks vaccinated almost two-thirds of its 45-plus workforce across India at least with one dose, it said. “Unfortunately, limited supply of vaccines has hampered our and our partners’ efforts to cover a larger number. Considering our pan-India tie ups, we expect to cover all employees in the coming weeks subject to availability of vaccines," said a company spokesperson.
Pune-based Tech Mahindra is vaccinating its employees and their dependents above 18 years at its offices in the national capital region (NCR) and Bengaluru. The company has partnered with Fortis Healthcare in NCR and Kauvery Hospital in Bengaluru for the first phase of the drive. “Our first and foremost priority is to get all our associates, their families and our entire partner ecosystem vaccinated at the earliest," said Harshvendra Soin, global chief people officer and head, marketing.
Paytm had already vaccinated more than 3,000 employees and their families, said a spokesperson. “We have tied up with major hospitals... for vaccine supply," he said. The company employs 7,000 people. Flipkart, which has 10,000 corporate staff and 100,000 supply chain executives, started vaccinating frontline employees on 12 May through partner hospitals across Bengaluru, NCR, Mumbai, Kolkata, Hyderabad, and Chennai, while Amazon is facilitating on-site and off-site vaccination for its workforce.
Foodtech firms Zomato and Swiggy have also initiated vaccination drives for their frontline delivery staff.
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