IT services major Cognizant said it is providing USD 1.5 million (about Rs 10 crore) towards operationalising efforts in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.
Cognizant, which has about two lakh employees in India, is also providing an additional USD 2 million (about Rs 15 crore) in emergency funding to UNICEF in India to help address acute shortages in oxygen and deploying medical and testing supplies.
"As the deadly second wave of the pandemic grips India, the health and well-being of our associates is our absolute top priority. Cognizant owes much of our success to our large presence in India, and we are committed to helping the country and its people overcome this humanitarian crisis," Cognizant India Executive Vice President and Chairman Rajesh Nambiar said.
The company has launched Operation C3 - Cognizant Combats COVID-19 - to "pull together all the resources available to us to support our associates in India, their dependents and their communities", he added.
"These efforts will be focused on three primary areas: supporting COVID care facilities, supplementing oxygen supplies to address the acute shortage, and providing access to vaccinations. As time is critical, we are immediately providing USD 1.5 million through the Cognizant Foundation to operationalise response efforts with our partners across India," he said. As part of this initiative, Cognizant is helping establish and support COVID care facilities across India, including offering its own facilities to be operated as care facilities.
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.
"We''re supporting the set-up of oxygen generation plants in hospitals to help them overcome oxygen shortages. And we''re working to facilitate special centres to make vaccination easier for people with disabilities," he said.
The massive rise in infections in the second wave of the pandemic has led to hospitals in several states reeling under a shortage of medical oxygen and beds. Social media timelines are filled with SOS calls with people looking for oxygen cylinders, hospital beds, plasma donors, and ventilators.
Organisations across the spectrum have come forward to source and donate oxygenators, breathing machines, and ventilators.
Vahdam India has launched a COVID Emergency Relief Fund 2021 with Doctors For You and the proceeds of this fund will be used to set up more temporary COVID treatment facilities, get more supply of oxygen cylinders and oxygen concentrators for critical cases, facilitate rapid vaccination programmes, and help provide prescribed medication to people in dire need.
To kickstart the fundraiser, Vahdam India has donated USD 50,000 to help start the process of aid.
Krafton, a South Korean collective of independent game development teams, has announced a contribution of Rs 1.5 crore towards the PM CARES Fund via its Indian subsidiary.
PayNearby, which operates a branchless banking and digital payments network, said it will leverage its distribution network of over 15 lakh retail touchpoints to create community awareness around vaccination programme and assist citizens to register themselves on the CoWIN app.