Guntur, February 24: The Guntur Municipal Corporation (GMC) has asked its employees to get vaccinated for coronavirus (COVID-19) or lose salary for the ongoing month. According to a report, an SMS by the Guntur Municipal Corporation warned employees that they will have to forgo salary for February if they don't take the COVID-19 vaccine.  The SMS was sent by a GMC additional commissioner. COVID-19 Vaccination in India: Over 1.19 Crore Healthcare and Frontline Workers Vaccinated.

Notably, the central government has said that getting vaccinated for COVID-19 is voluntary. However, GMC commissioner C Anuradha said that they had received oral instructions from higher authorities on the issue. The controversial SMS was sent at a time when Andhra Pradesh is witnessing vaccine hesitancy. The state could give the vaccine to 50 percent of the targeted groups.

Muddada Ravichandra, principal secretary (COVID-19 vaccine administration), speaking to TOI, later clarified that taking the vaccine is voluntary and the district administration had been told not to force it. "I spoke with the district collector and advised him to ensure that such things are not repeated. We have reiterated it in the video conferencing with district officials today," he was quoted as saying.

Anil Kumar Singhal, principal secretary (health), said that vaccination is voluntary. Meanwhile, Andhra Pradesh saw 70 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, which took the state's tally to over 8.89 lakh. One more person succumbed to the virus yesterday, raising the total number of deaths to 7,168. Total recoveries crossed 8.81 lakh in the southern state.

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Feb 24, 2021 11:23 AM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website