Accenture is undertaking initiatives to provide care, support and access to COVID-19 vaccines for over 2 lakh eligible employees and their families in India, the company said in a note on May 4.
“Safety and well-being of our people continues to be our top priority and we are providing care, support and access to vaccines for our eligible people in India who are facing an unprecedented challenge,” it stated.
The information technology major said that its initiatives have been developed per “guidance of external experts and groups” including international and domestic health authorities.
“To support our more than 200,000 people and their families in India, we have built several resources including 24/7 telemedicine, care-at-home services, enhanced insurance coverage, virtual childcare, mental health support, and support for testing and vaccinations. We have also created leave options for Care Givers. Our teams continue to work around the clock to find additional ways to support our people,” Rekha M Menon, Chairperson and Senior Managing Director of Accenture in India & Chairperson – NASSCOM said.
Frequently Asked Questions
A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.
There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.
Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.
The measures include:
>> Support for complementary 24x7 doctor tele-consultation and mental wellness counselling helplines to Accenture employees and their dependents.
>> Reimbursable benefits for COVID-19 testing with home sample collection.
>> Home Care Service for employees and family members who are experiencing symptoms and are under quarantine or are awaiting hospitalization.
>> Assistance package with medical care and advisory services for the 14-day quarantine period including daily remote nursing support for vitals monitoring, consultations with physicians, dieticians and psychologists and home isolation kits which include a pulse oximeter, face shields and other essential items prescribed by health practitioners for medical care at home.
>> The company is also covering the cost of vaccinations (for both jabs) for employees and their dependents over the age of 18 who are part of our medical benefits program.
>> Employees will be given four hours of paid time off for each dose of the COVID-19 vaccination.
>> An additional leave benefit called the ‘COVID-19 Caregiver Leave’ of five days has been introduced for employees who need days off to care for family members who tested positive for COVID 19.
Further to this, Menon added that the company has made a fresh pledge of $25 million (approx. Rs 185 crore) for pandemic relief efforts in addition to ongoing investments in our people and communities.
“We are also engaging with the government to support vaccination camps and provide local language call-centre support. Additionally, we will be augmenting existing hospitals with beds and ICUs and setting up portable hospitals,” she added.
She also noted that Accenture employees from across the global are donating funds and the company will “match 100 percent of our people’s contributions for COVID-19 relief efforts.”
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of all who have lost their lives, and the many more who continue to battle the COVID-19 pandemic,” Menon added.
The company statement also emphasised that besides employee initiatives, it is also extending ongoing support to local communities by providing ventilators, oxygen concentrators, and medical kits; COVID-19 support kits and PPE kits for healthcare workers servicing marginalised communities; and food and COVID-19 at-home care kits for the unemployed and poor.
“Accenture is committed to supporting our people and our communities in India as the country battles this crisis. Earlier, Accenture CEO Julie Sweet joined other business leaders in supporting the Biden Administration in expediting assistance to India. We are also working with other companies and the US Chamber of Commerce to organize a Global Task Force on Pandemic Response: Mobilizing for India,” it added.Follow our full COVID-19 coverage here