Cummins delivers 30,000th vaccine dose in India
When COVID-19 vaccines began to be available in April of 2021, India was deeply embroiled in a healthcare crisis that the whole world watched with compassion. Confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country reached almost 400,000 at its peak, and vaccines were scarce.
Initially, India’s government only opened vaccine appointments for persons over 40 years old. Vaccines weren’t widely available and there was some concern about the safety of public vaccination sites. It was during this time when the team at Cummins Inc. in Pune, India sprang into action for their employees with a small, onsite vaccination drive for employees over 40.
“Vaccine availability was a big challenge at that time, and Pune was the first site to have onsite vaccinations for its employees. It took the hard work of many of our leaders, on the ground talking to multiple government agencies and trying to get the vaccines for our employees and their families,” said Dr. Deepali Khode, Cummins Inc. Medical Officer India ABO. “Cummins is a very respected brand in Pune, in large part due to our work in the community. In the end, it was our commitment to corporate responsibility that made it possible for us to get the vaccines for our people.”
Since the beginning of the pandemic, Cummins has partnered with government authorities and organizations in India to provide oxygen concentrators, ventilators, BiPAP machines, PPE and other essential items to area hospitals and agencies. The company has also done extensive health and safety education drives in the community, including a program to help city schools prepare for a safe restart amid COVID-19, encompassing 11,000 students and 469 staff. To date, Cummins India Foundation has donated more than $1million (USD) to relief efforts and to purchase equipment and supplies in India.
“Cummins has done so much to make sure our employees and their families, our suppliers, and our entire communities are supported during this time,” said Abhilasha Shukla, Cummins Inc. Communications Leader India ABO. “Our vaccine clinic involved almost 300 cross functional volunteers on the ground and a lot of hard work from our leadership. It never would have happened if not for the deep commitment of everyone involved.”
When the Indian government made vaccinations available to anyone over 18, Cummins expanded its vaccination clinic to Cummins employees and their families, joint venture partners Fleetguard and Valvoline employees and families, and company suppliers. The team created an online booking tool to ensure its clinics could preserve social distancing while offering the maximum number of vaccinations every day. As of publication, Cummins has administered more than 30,000 shots in India.
“In the beginning, there was some vaccine hesitancy among our employees, and we worked with our branding team to come up with some ideas to communicate the importance of vaccination from both a personal and societal standpoint,” added Dr. Deepali. “When employees began to see their colleagues take the vaccination in the safe environment of our clinic, we began to see an even bigger response.”
Many generations of families came to the Cummins clinic to be vaccinated, including a 90-year-old grandfather of an employee.
“We were so happy to have him come to our clinic and show everyone ‘if he can do it, why don’t you?’” added Shukla. “We used many different channels to reach our people including messages from our leadership during townhalls and emails, as well as jingles and testimonials from their peers. We wanted to reach them emotionally, and really stress how vaccinations can help keep their families and communities safe.”
In addition to robust pandemic support, Cummins has several long-term initiatives in India that demonstrate the company’s value of caring. The Model Villages work is focused on providing equality of opportunity in communities. Monsoon resilient Maharashtra has generated more than one billion gallons of water for 36 villages in India. Click here to learn more about Cummins’ commitment to corporate responsibility.