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After 500 deaths, LPG distributors ring alarm bells of a possible supply disruption during COVID

Delivery boys visit 65-75 lakh houses, accessing more than three crore people daily, which makes them vulnerable to infection; Federation asks for immediate vaccination

May 24, 2021 / 04:30 PM IST

Here is another group of frontline COVID warriors under the pandemic hammer.

With around 50,000 of their workers and families getting affected due to coronavirus, and about 500 of them losing their lives, 12,000 liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) distributors in the country have warned the government about a possible supply disruption with more and more workers refusing to turn up for duty.

The Federation of LPG Distributors of India (FLDI), the largest such association in the country with over 12,000 members and 300,000 permanent and temporary staff, has asked the government to recognize the LPG distributor staff as Corona frontline warriors and get them vaccinated on priority to ensure uninterrupted home delivery of LPG cylinder.

According to statistics shared by the association, LPG delivery boys visit 65-75 lakh houses and have access to more than three crore people daily. “This makes them one of the most vulnerable guys running around on the streets and a perfect candidate to turn into a Super Spreader, but for reasons best known to them, the concerned authorities have kept their eyes shut towards this disaster so far,” the FLDI said in a statement.

During this second wave of coronavirus, nearly 50,000 distributors, their staff and families have got infected with the deadly virus, out of which more than 500 of them lost their lives to date, it said.

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COVID-19 Vaccine

Frequently Asked Questions

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How does a vaccine work?

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.

How many types of vaccines are there?

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.

What does it take to develop a vaccine of this kind?

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.

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The statement added that the oil marketing companies have ‘miserably failed’ in recognizing their efforts towards society.

“Today our delivery and office staff are fearful and both physically and mentally exhausted. They have started showing reluctance in going for home delivery without being vaccinated despite the distributor's best effort to convince them. Our delivery system is crumbling steadily,” it said.

India has a total of 25,097 LPG distributors, who were working on the frontline even during the first lockdown in 2020, when the government had announced free LPG cylinders for below poverty line (BPL) families.

“We give a 15-day notice to fulfil both the LPG delivery staff-related and OMCs related demands. Any adverse effect on the home delivery of LPG refill due to the absence of the distributor staff after the mentioned date would solely be the responsibility of the concerned administrative authorities,” the statement added.
Shine Jacob
first published: May 24, 2021 04:30 pm

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