Coal India has asked the Centre to provide it 10 lakh Covid-19 vaccine doses for its employees and their family members, Bloomberg reported on Tuesday. As many as 400 employees of the coal mining firm have died due to the infection.

The company has so far vaccinated 64,000 of its 2,59,000 employees and workers unions have been demanding that it speed up the inoculation. As many 6,000 workers have been infected with Covid-19. Over 1,000 are still under treatment, according to Bloomberg.

Coal India said that most of its employees were infected in the second wave of the pandemic, as they continued to work amid the escalating health crisis. Unions have been demanding frontline status for the workers, Business Standard reported.

The company told Bloomberg that the situation has begun to improve but it was investing more in medical facilities in case there was a resurgence of the infection among its employees.

Coal India added that it strictly followed Covid-19 protocol, sanitising equipment regularly and ensuring that its workers wear protective masks.

Workers’ unions said the company needed to do more to protect its staff members. “The company should be looking at mass vaccination programs that cover all employees and their family members so that the damage can be arrested,” Sudhir Ghurde, the general secretary of Akhil Bharatiya Khadan Mazdoor Sangh, told Bloomberg.

Follow today’s live updates on the Covid-19 crisis here.

India has been batting a ferocious second wave of Covid-19. The country grappled with acute shortages of oxygen as well as medicines and hospital beds, which forced families and friends of patients to plead for help on social media.

The Opposition has heavily criticised the Centre for the crippling scarcity of medical supplies, and courts had also pulled up the Centre.

Vaccine doses have also been falling short. Amid heavy criticism from the states, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced on Monday that states will no longer have to spend on Covid-19 vaccines and the Centre will now provide doses for the 18 to 44 age group.

“The Centre will procure 75% of the jabs manufactured by vaccine makers and provide them to states free of cost,” Modi had said while addressing the nation. “From June 21, Centre will provide free vaccines for all citizens above the age of 18.”

However, private hospitals will continue to buy 25% of the total vaccine stock. This means some beneficiaries will have to pay for their vaccines if they choose to get inoculated at non-government medical facilities.