The Union Health Ministry on Saturday said 22.12 lakh public healthcare providers, including community health workers, will get Rs 50 lakh insurance cover under a national scheme for them.
They will be covered under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Package Insurance Scheme for Health Workers Fighting COVID-19, which was announced by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on March 26.
In an order, the ministry said that "as per the announcement made under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan package, the central government has approved the launch of insurance scheme for health workers fighting COVID19 outbreak."
Besides, healthcare workers in government institutions, the insurance scheme will also cover private hospital staff, retired staff, volunteers, contract workers, daily wagers and even outsourced staff hired by the central government, state governments and autonomous healthcare institutions, it said.
The insurance will provide a "comprehensive personal accident cover of Rs 50 lakh for 90 days to a total of around 22.12 lakh public healthcare providers, including community health workers, who may have to be in direct contact and care of patients suffering from coronavirus infection and who may be at risk of being impacted by this," the ministry 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.
These cases will also be covered subject to numbers indicated by the Ministry of Health.
The scheme will be funded through the National Disaster Response Fund budget operated by the ministry for this purpose.
"The actual payment by the insurance company to the beneficiary will be under certification of the authorised Central/State government officials.