Industry body TAIPA has written to DoT seeking priority vaccination of telecom field personnel, amid a growing chorus for inoculation of these workers in the backdrop of the severe second wave of the pandemic.
Earlier this week, industry association COAI had approached Health Ministry requesting for vaccination of frontline telecom workers on duty manning networks around the clock, as there is “fear in the minds of these professionals”.
On Wednesday, Tower and Infrastructure Providers Association (TAIPA), in a statement said it has written to Telecom Secretary Anshu Prakash urging for the inclusion of telecom field personnel under the ‘frontline workers’ category for priority in COVID-19 jab.
Citing the second wave of COVID-19 “which is more intense than to previous one”, TAIPA has sought the intervention of the Department of Telecom (DoT) to get priority vaccination for telecom frontline staff.
“Even in absence of any vaccination, the frontline telecom workers have continued to perform their routine activities such as operation and maintenance of telecom infrastructure, diesel filling at sites, fault repairs, etc., under duress, psychological pressure and also despite grave risks posed to them and their families. They have been working in the toughest of times across all types of zones including the COVID-19 hotspots,” T R Dua, Director-General, Tower and Infrastructure Providers Association (TAIPA) said.
It is therefore “essential” that they are accorded the status of frontline workers for priority in COVID-19 vaccination, across the country, he added.
The call for priority vaccination for frontline telecom staff comes at a time when a massive rise in infections during the second deadly wave of the pandemic has led to hospitals in several states reeling under a shortage of medical oxygen, beds, and other critical infrastructure.
India saw a record rise in COVID-19 deaths with 4,205 fresh fatalities taking the country’s death toll to 2,54,197, while 3,48,421 new coronavirus infections were reported, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated on Wednesday. The total tally of COVID-19 cases in the country now stands at 2,33,40,938.
The vaccination drive in India was rolled out on January 16 with healthcare workers getting inoculated and the vaccination of frontline workers started on February 2. Subsequently, it was opened for different age groups.
While people have rushed to register for the jab, certain States have flagged limited availability of vaccines. PTI