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Retail employees ‘frontline workers’, must get COVID vaccine on priority basis: FICCI

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Industry chamber FICCI has written to the Union Health Ministry seeking inclusion of retail industry staffers in the list of ‘frontline workers’ for the COVID-19 vaccination drive. “The kirana community along with retail employees should be recognised as ‘frontline workers’ as they have been serving the nation tirelessly despite being the most vulnerable to the risk of infection, as per a PTI report.

“These frontline retail warriors should be prioritised in the initial phase of the vaccination rollout,” Arvind Mediratta, chairperson, FICCI Retail and Internal Trade Committee and MD & CEO – METRO Cash & Carry India was quoted by PTI as saying.

He said the industry leaders jointly deliberated on the need for intervention of the private sector in the vaccination programme and stressed upon prioritising retail employees as well as small retailers like mom and pop kirana shops.

The Indian retail and e-commerce industry employs around 40 million people. Those working across stores, distribution centres, warehouses and throughout the retail ecosystem are particularly at highest risk from the devastating impact of the pandemic, FICCI said in the letter to Health Minister Harshvardhan.

“It is of critical importance therefore, that the retail industry should be included in the list of ‘frontline workers’ and among the early recipients of the COVID-19 vaccine,” the chamber said.

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