As India opens up COVID-19 vaccination to everyone above 18 years of age from May 1, over 50 per cent companies are planning to facilitate vaccination for their employees and dependents, as per a survey.
While 80 per cent companies are considering having the vaccination administered at third-party clinics or hospitals, 21 per cent plan to do it at their offices and 10 per cent at the residence of their employees, the 'COVID-19 Vaccination Trends India Survey by Willis Towers Watson' said.
Over 150 employers participated in the survey conducted in April by Willis Towers Watson, a leading global advisory, broking and solutions company.
Nearly all surveyed companies (97 per cent) plan to cover or subsidise the vaccination cost for their employees, while 78 per cent plan to do so for the spouse or partner, 74 per cent for children and 59 per cent for parents.
As per the survey, 23 per cent companies said that vaccination related costs would be covered from the existing employee benefits budget, while 37 per cent would allocate a separate budget. "Further, 75 per cent of the employers plan to include vaccination costs as part of their insurance programmes and 15 per cent as part of an OPD benefit," it said.
Considering the importance of vaccination amidst the pandemic, companies also plan to communicate the benefits of vaccination (91 per cent), while 60 per cent companies plan to establish a long-term policy where proof of vaccination will be required as a condition for returning to in-person work.
"Further, 40 per cent of the surveyed companies, plan to offer incentives to employees to get vaccinated. These include additional sick leaves for vaccination related reactions (57 per cent), pay for time spent getting vaccinated (46 per cent) and other financial incentives(23 per cent)," it said.
Given the unprecedented challenge, approximately 60 per cent companies anticipate advisory and guidance from their service provider or consultant to facilitate the vaccination programmes, it added.
India is battling the second wave of coronavirus cases, with the country reporting a record-high 3,32,730 new coronavirus cases in the preceding 24 hours as of Friday morning.
Under the liberalised and accelerated Phase 3 strategy of COVID-19 vaccination, beginning May 1, everyone above the age of 18 years will be eligible for vaccination.
The government has permitted vaccine manufacturers to release up to 50 per cent of their supply to state governments and in the open market at a pre-declared price. States have also been empowered to procure additional vaccine doses directly from the manufacturers, as well as open up vaccination to any category of people above the age of 18 years for the same.