Top staffing firms explore options to procure COVID vaccine

Top staffing and logistics companies, including Shadowfax, Quess Corp, Manpower, Adecco, TeamLease Services and CIEL that have lakhs of contract workers on their payrolls and service thousands of companies, are exploring options to get Covid-19 va...

Kolkata | New Delhi: Top staffing and logistics companies, including Shadowfax, Quess Corp, Manpower, Adecco, TeamLease Services and CIEL that have lakhs of contract workers on their payrolls and service thousands of companies, are exploring options to get Covid-19 vaccines - once they become available commercially for employees and associates. Many of these people have been working as essential service providers right through the pandemic.

While some firms are considering plans to set up camps at client locations, a few have initiated talks with vaccine manufacturers and suppliers as they explore options to ensure employee safety. A bulk of these workers are employed in frontline roles such as in last-mile delivery, customer service, facility management, security and feet-on-the-street, and face greater risk compared with most others.

On-demand logistics service provider Shadowfax, with a 1.5-lakh delivery-partner network, has initiated talks with vaccine manufacturers and large pharma distributors. “We would like to cover the cost for our delivery partners as much as possible. Conversations are going on and we will have more clarity in the coming days,” said cofounder Praharsh Chandra.


“Once government and vaccine manufacturers confirm bulk supplies for employers, we will consider working closely with clients, especially where there is a large workforce under one roof. Such vaccination camps can be facilitated in manufacturing, industries, banking and other such sectors,” said Lohit Bhatia, president of workforce management at Quess Corp.

Quess’ frontline workforce in facility management and security, deployed at hospitals in roles such as ward boys and general duty assistants, have already started getting vaccines through the hospitals under which they are deployed, said Bhatia.

India had vaccinated more than 7.86 lakh people as of Wednesday evening. While the pandemic has seen a declining trend in the country, the overall number of cases in India is the highest after the US.
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ManpowerGroup India is exploring possibilities of providing vaccines for frontline staff as soon as the government makes it commercially available for corporates. “It would be our way of showing gratitude to our employees for risking their lives all through the pandemic,” said managing director Sandeep Gulati.

CIEL is making a list of employees in frontline roles such as sales, customer service, warehousing, last-mile delivery, administration, billing and facility management, who are at a greater risk of the infection. “While the exercise is still on, we estimate this to be about 10,000 employees spread across India. We will track the progress of vaccination and explore possibilities of organising the programme for them through a provider,” said CEO Aditya Narayan Mishra.

Firms said they are monitoring the efficacy of the vaccination drive, as they continue to stress on following safety protocols and social distancing. “We are exploring the right approach to inoculate our frontline employees in a staged manner in the coming months,” said Manu Saigal – director of general staffing & permanent recruitment at Adecco.

TeamLease cofounder Rituparna Chakraborty said the company was anticipating enquiries from organisations seeking help in procuring vaccines for employees deployed with them, especially in outbound roles and manufacturing jobs. “Accordingly, we have started our preparations to understand protocols and the procurement process,” she said.
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