Vaccine shortage stymies IT cos’ inoculation drive


BENGALURU: Some IT companies that had committed to help employees with immunisation drives are now looking to delay the programme because of vaccine shortage.
IBM, which was supposed to start its vaccination programme this month, has told its employees that it has been pushed back, two people familiar with the matter said. The company has more than 1 lakh employees in the country.
“We are in touch with our partners and the hospitals on a regular basis to assess the situation on ground and will open up vaccination for our employees, in line with government regulations and basis the availability of vaccination at the earliest possible date.’’ Chaitanya Sreenivas, HR head, IBM India, told TOI.
TCS, with close to 5 lakh employees worldwide, is looking to procure doses via suppliers to ensure its staff and their family are covered. While the company did run some initial camps on a pilot basis, vaccination on the original scale planned is still to commence, a person familiar with the matter said.
“We are setting up vaccination centres across the country in our offices and with our primary medical partner. To ensure a smooth experience, a core team will work with hospitals and suppliers for procuring and administering vaccines across cities in India,” TCS said. Wipro said towards the end of April, they held the first vaccination camp for employees above the age of 45 in Bengaluru. A similar camp was held in Chennai.
Industry body Nasscom, in a letter to PM Narendra Modi earlier this week, said that while the vaccine regime has been liberalised, availability of it for the private sector continues to be challenging and urged the government to authorise emergency use of WHO-approved vaccines of Pfizer and Moderna. It also requested the government to allow Nasscom members to procure vaccines from Indian stocks. The industry employs 45 lakh people.