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Report on Shemaroo

Get a jab, industry urges staff, workers as it resumes operations

Most companies are conducting vaccination drives for staff, workers.

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New Delhi: With the second wave of the pandemic beginning to show signs of a slowdown, organisations across the country are gearing up to welcome their employees back to the office. But with the threat of a third wave looming large, they are taking no chances and making arrangements for their employees to get vaccinated on time. The media and entertainment industry was also hit hard by the pandemic. With TV, film shoots suspended, the losses only mounted. Now as states begin to unlock and restrictions ease, the industry is also taking steps to resume business.

"Vaccination is the only wave to combat this dreaded disease. I'm sure it will eliminate the disease to a large extent and pave the way for a fearless and anxiety-free shooting in Maharashtra," said Indian Film and TV Producers Council (IFTPC) president Sajid Nadiadwala.

IFTPC has already begun vaccinating about 10,000 media and entertainment workers. The trade association has tied up with Kokilaben Ambani Hospital for the vaccination drive at the IFTPC office in Andheri West. It has decided to add two to three more vaccination centers once the return journey of crews shooting outside Maharashtra begins.

"Vaccination will be given free of cost to all the workers, but a nominal fee will be charged from high-end professionals and technicians," said IFTPC chairman (TV and web), J D Majethia, adding that the first vaccination drive is being funded by Motion Pictures and TV Producers' Welfare Trust, the philanthropic wing of IFTPC.

On 8 June, the Federation of Cine Technicians and Workers of Eastern India (FCTWEI) also conducted a mass vaccination drive and inoculated as many as 108 people, including artists, technicians, executive producers, and writers. 

The Producers Guild of India (PGI), the association of Indian film, television, and digital content producers also conducted a mass vaccination campaign for its guild members and associated production crews on a multi-day drive on 1 June. "Mass vaccination drives will help to facilitate safer shooting as the production has been resumed in limited hours," it stated.

Broadcasters are not far behind either. Zee Entertainment has begun the vaccination drive for artists, technicians, crew members, other associates, and partners. Zee Kannada and Zee Bangla have already conducted the first drive, Zee Telugu will follow suit. Soumi Chakraborty, who plays Kamala in ‘Rani Rashmoni’ received the first dose of the Covid vaccine at the Zee Bangla office on 7 June.

"As a responsible broadcaster and one of the important broadcasters in the TV ecosystem, we have taken the initiative to provide free vaccination for all our artists, technicians, the crew of production houses, and other associates and partners. This initiative has been driven by a core sense of health and safety first for all the partners and members who are associated with our various projects," said Zee Entertainment cluster head (East) Samrat Ghosh.

Yash Raj Films has also opened its studios for the first phase of the vaccination drive, in which it plans to inoculate as many as 4,000 workers. YRF had pledged to sponsor Covid-19 vaccines for 30,000 members of the Federation of Western India Cine Employees (FWICE).

As the second wave recedes further, it may also become necessary for workers and staff to show proof of vaccination, when they resume work. The organizations are thus making efforts to dispel any concerns that their staff may have regarding vaccination and urging them to take the jabs.

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