03:45 GMT17 May 2021
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    As the Indian government kickstarted the third phase of the mega COVID-19 vaccination drive from 1 May for all those above 18 years old, there have been several reports of vaccine shortages. The government and pharma companies are making efforts to increase vaccine availability amid skyrocketing cases in India.

    To safeguard artists, technicians, and daily wage workers in Bollywood from the second wave of deadly coronavirus, India's top production house Yash Raj Films has decided to vaccinate around 30,000 registered members.

    The YRF's Yash Chopra Foundation will be purchasing 60,000 coronavirus jabs from the Maharashtra state government to provide free vaccinations to all the registered members of the Hindi film industry federation in Mumbai, which has emerged as one of the hotbeds of COVID-19 in India. 

    In a letter to Maharashtra State Chief Uddhav Thackeray, YRF productions and the Federation of Western India Cine Employees (FWICE) has requested the government to allow the purchase of COVID-19 vaccines.

    "With the film industry going through an unprecedented time, there is an urgent need to restart at the earliest so that thousands of workers can start earning their livelihood again and protect their families", YRF Senior Vice President Akshay Vidhani said. 

    ​Due to a complete lockdown in Maharashtra, several daily wage workers including technicians, junior artists, labourers, and others have been facing a major economic crisis as they have lost their jobs due to the shutdown of film sets and shoots of TV, films, and web series.

    "Vaccination is very important not only to fight the disease but also to fight against the dropping economy of the state...We hope our kind request is approved which will enable our members to be safe and also get them back to work at the earliest", the FWICE statement reads. 

    India on Tuesday reported a slight dip in coronavirus cases as it registered 357,229 new infections in the last 24 hours, according to the Health Ministry. With a population of 1.3 billion, India has administered over 158,932,921 vaccines so far.


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