Union Health Ministry, in a letter to states and union territories, has suggested that COVID-19 vaccination sessions may be organised at government and private workplaces. Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan asked additonal chief secretaries, principal secretaries and secretaries in health department of states and UTs to initiate due consultations with public and private sector employers and management to prepare for workplace coronavirus vaccination drives.
Vaccination centres at workplaces may be launched across states and UTs from April 11, Bhushan stated. Organising vaccination drives at workplaces will not only be convenient for employees, but will also reduce the risk of exposure to coronavirus, he added.
From April 1, 2021, the nationwide COVID-19 vaccination drive has been extended to all citizens aged 45 years or above. A substiantial portion of 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 undertaking 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 delibrations with relevant employers or head offices. Workplace management 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 registration of beneficiaries, availability of physical and IT infrastructure, oversight to vaccination, etc.
Employees aged 45 years or more will have to register in Co-WIN portal prior to vaccination. On-the-spot registration facility will also be available for them at workplace vaccination centres.
Every government workplace CVC will be tagged 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 sessions 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 disseminated up to 15 days in advance.
(Edited by Vivek Punj)