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Friday, June 18, 2021

Chemists’ body threatens to join lockdown, demands vaccination on priority

According to AIOCD, more than 650 chemists and pharmacists have died of Covid-19.

By: Express News Service | Pune |
Updated: May 21, 2021 7:21:56 pm
People in a queue outside a medical shop in Kolkata. (Express Photo: Partha Paul, File)

A national organisation of over 9.40 lakh chemists has threatened that chemists across the country will go into lockdown, like other non-essential services, if they were not vaccinated on priority basis. All India Organisation of Chemists and Druggists (AIOCD) has said it will join lockdown so as to protect and save its members and claimed that they had been sidelined when it came to considering them a priority group for vaccination against Covid-19.

J S Shinde, president of AIOCD, said chemists and medicine distributors were on 24-hour duty since March 2020 as essential workers. “We have dispensed and distributed drugs since the pandemic struck, and while it was logical to vaccinate chemists as frontline workers, we were never considered for some reason,” Shinde said.

Anil Belkar, secretary of Chemists Association in Pune district that has over 10,000 members, told The Indian Express that the organisation had asked the district administration to include them for vaccination, on priority. “We are yet to get a majority of our members vaccinated,” Belkar said.

According to AIOCD, more than 650 chemists and pharmacists have died of Covid-19. The organisation also claimed that when drugs like remdesivir and tocilizumab were brought under government regulations, the medication was not available for its own members. “…we want to maintain the availability of medicines during the crucial period of Covid-19 and, hence, have not resorted to any strike or lockdown,” Shinde said.

The association has demanded to be vaccinated on priority and also written to V K Paul, member (health) of NITI Aayog, requesting allocation of vaccines for chemists and employees of medical device companies.

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