SINGAPORE: Grab on Thursday (Feb 4) announced the launch of a COVID-19 vaccination programme, and an aim of having all employees, drivers and delivery partners inoculated against the disease by the end of next year.
Grab's goal of reaching "fully-vaccinated status" for individuals who work for its platform excludes those who are medically unfit or unsuitable to receive a vaccine. The programme will be rolled out in all markets that Grab operates in, the company told CNA.
Under the vaccine programme, Grab will subsidise the cost of COVID-19 vaccinations for driver and delivery partners not covered by their national vaccination programmes.
It will also cover the cost of vaccinations for all Grab employees and their immediate family members not covered by national vaccination schemes.
Grab’s group prolonged medical leave insurance policy will also be extended, free of charge, to cover potential loss of income by driver partners as a result of side effects from the vaccine.
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Grab operates in eight countries in Southeast Asia, including Singapore.
In response to queries from CNA, Grab said it was unable to provide figures for the number of employees, drivers and delivery partners across its markets, as well as the cost breakdown of the planned subsidies and vaccination programme.
While COVID-19 vaccinations are mostly voluntary, including in Singapore, Grab noted that governments across the region are encouraging their residents to get vaccinated.
“We will help address vaccine hesitation through public education and the removal of barriers like cost concerns,” the company told CNA.
On the education front, Grab said it will work closely with governments to provide “important and timely vaccination information in order to combat misinformation and boost public confidence” in the vaccines.
The firm will publish vaccine and other public health information in “dedicated high-visibility spaces” within the Grab app, it said.
It will also launch a “COVID-19 snap survey” platform to help governments better understand public sentiment around the vaccines with real-time data.
“We expect that this will enable public health authorities to better tailor their vaccine strategy and messaging for the public,” said Grab.
The company will also run workshops and town halls to educate its driver, delivery, merchant and agent partners on the benefits of getting vaccinated.
Grab is also in talks with various governments to facilitate mobility to and from vaccination centres, as well as last-mile vaccine distribution, it said.
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The roll-out of COVID-19 vaccines is moving Southeast Asia into recovery mode, said Mr Russell Cohen, Grab’s group managing director of operations.
“But there are many challenges to vaccine delivery, particularly in a region as widespread and diverse as ours,” he said.
“We’ve worked closely with governments across Southeast Asia throughout the past year to address pandemic challenges on multiple fronts, and now hope to play our part in making sure every Southeast Asian has access to the right information and resources to get vaccinated.”
He added: “The quicker we can achieve herd immunity, the sooner our communities and economies can start to rebuild. Public-private partnership has been critical in taking on some of the pandemic’s biggest battles, and this collaboration should continue.”