Odisha Chemists Threaten To Close Shops If Not Vaccinated On Priority

Bhubaneswar: Chemists and druggists want to be given frontline worker status and have threatened to close their shops if they are not vaccinated on priority. They have alleged that the state government has neither recognised them as frontline workers nor made any arrangements for their vaccination.

Members of Khurda District Chemists and Druggists Association said more than 20,000 chemists including 1,800 in Khurda district have been serving ailing people amid great risk, The New Indian Express (TNIE) reported.

“The government has declared medical staff, police, journalists and sanitation workers as frontline workers it is yet to include chemists and druggists in the category. At least 100 chemists and dispensary staff have lost their lives after contracting the infection since March last year,” Association president Pragati Ranjan Mohanty was quoted as saying.

“Chemists deal with a large number of people on a daily basis and are exposed to the virus. In such a scenario, if a chemist gets infected he/she could become a super spreader,” Mohanty pointed out adding that the government will have to pay a heavy price if the demand for early vaccination of chemists is not considered immediately, the report said.

“If the government and local administrations do not pay heed to our grievance, we will be forced to down our shutters. We cannot take the risk of being super spreaders and the responsibility of the crisis will be on the government,”  association Secretary Prasanta Kumar Jena was quoted as saying.

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