Bharti Airtel, India’s second-largest telco, has extended its free vaccination program to almost 80,000 employees working with its partners and distributors across the country. These employees are working at Airtel’s offline retail stores and are serving as field service executives.
Telecom companies recently sought “frontline healthcare worker status” for their field staff and engineers and approached the telecom department for their priority vaccination. India’s telecom department had categorised telecommunications as an essential service as more states went under lockdown due to the new wave of COVID-19.
Airtel is now prioritising the inoculation of third party executives amid the severe second wave of COVID-19. The telco has over 15,000 partners and distributors in India.
“These are unprecedented times as the nation battles a massive second wave of COVID-19.
Even in this difficult hour, Airtel, with the support of partners like you, has worked round the clock to keep customers connected when they need it the most,” Navneet Sharma, CEO of Airtel Gujarat, said in a letter to partners.
“I am delighted to share with you that we are extending this free vaccination initiative to your frontline staff such as Customer Relations Executives and Field Sales Executives,” he added.
The company’s other circle chief executives have also informed partners through identical letters about the extension of the free vaccination initiative.
The Sunil Mittal-led telecom operator has onboarded Apollo Hospitals to vaccinate its employees and their family members. It is bearing the entire cost of this initiative.
Sharma said that Airtel’s employees and people working with partners could get themselves vaccinated at special camps being organised by the telco at 35 locations across India.
Airtel said that these frontline partner staff could alternatively get vaccinated on their own, and the telco would reimburse the cost subject to submission of the vaccination certificate and original bill.
“I would request you to urge your employees to take full benefit of this initiative and ensure the safety of everyone around us. We remain optimistic that things will improve soon as the country opens up with all necessary safety precautions,” Sharma told Airtel partners and distributors in his letter.
Airtel has also extended a special “COVID insurance cover” to all frontline associate and partner employees, including Airtel store staff and Field Sales Executives (FSE), who are in the field serving customers. “We have always gone the extra mile to care for our partners, who are an integral part of the Airtel Family,” Sharma said.
India’s IT services companies have also started organising vaccination camps for their employees and their family members against COVID-19 and said they would cover vaccination costs. Companies like Tech Mahindra, Infosys and Wipro have already made their plans public and have started partnering with hospital chains for the vaccination process.
India is currently reporting around 200,000 new COVID-19 cases a day. The Indian government had opened up COVID vaccinations for all adults from May 1.