Most migrant workers won’t benefit from vaccination drive

Most workers, employed in industrial units, are aged 20-40

The Tamil Nadu government’s directive to industries to vaccinate all workers aged 45 and above will not cover a majority of them here as most of the migrant workers are aged 20-40.

K. Selvaraju, secretary-general, Southern India Mills’ Association, says that of the 50 lakh workers employed in textile units across the State, just about 10% will be eligible for vaccination. A majority of the workers are from other States or women from different districts. They are all aged below 45. But textile units having in-house dispensary or healthcare centres are trying to vaccinate all their workers, he says.

The number of permanent workers in textile mills is very less, and a majority of the migrant workers are aged below 45. All of them should be covered because they are the high-risk group, says AITUC leader M. Arumugam.

M.V. Ramesh Babu, president of the Coimbatore District Small Industries Association, and J. James, president of the Tamil Nadu Association of Cottage and Tiny Enterprises, say most of the workers in the micro, small and medium units in the district are from other States or districts and 80% are aged 20-40.

If the government relaxes the age limit, the units will be able to vaccinate a majority of them, Mr. Ramesh Babu says. The government should allow industries to vaccinate all workers aged above 25, says Mr. James.

The special camps being held for industries here from Sunday will cover the staff members. But the age limit should be reduced to vaccinate a large number of workers, says an official.

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