India’s vaccination plan has landed many people in a fix. The currently widely available options are Covishield, which is the India-produced version of AstraZeneca’s vaccine. The other option is Covaxin. While Covishield has been put on the WHO-approved list due to the association with AZ and completing the work in time, Covaxin is still a work in progress with no timeline on when will the vaccine receive approval to be on the WHO list. Sputnik V is also now available, but not widely.
At this point, the second dose of Covaxin is to be administered in the interval of 28 days to 42 days after the first dose. The second dose of Covishield is to be administered in the interval of 84 days to 112 days after the first dose. The second dose of Sputnik V should be administered in the interval of 21 days to 90 days after the first dose.
However, this move to space out the second dose of Covishield to allow for more people to receive the first dose has caused problems to many folks who were supposed to travel abroad to study. Those heading to the US have also received advice from their US universities that Covaxin is not an approved vaccine. Hence, people getting vaccinated have to receive a Covishield vaccine if they have not been already vaccinated.
New guidelines issued for vaccinating those who want to travel abroad for studies, joining work or Tokyo Olympics 2020
As per the new guidelines issued, there will be specific exemptions for those who want to travel abroad for studies, work or the Olympics. This special dispensation will be available to:
- Students who have to undertake foreign travel for education.
- Persons who have to take up jobs in foreign countries.
- Athletes, Sportspersons and accompanying staff of Indian contingent attending International Olympic Games to be held in Tokyo.
States/Union Territory governments shall designate a competent authority in each District for permission for such administration of the second dose of Covishield. The competent authority shall check the following before according authorisation for the administration of the second dose before the period of 84 days after the date of the first dose:
- Whether a period of 28 days has elapsed after the date of the first dose.
- Genuineness of the purpose of travel based on documents related to:
- Admission offers or associated formal communications for the purpose of education.
- Whether a person is already studying in a foreign educational institution and has to return to that institution for continuing his/her education.
- Interview calls for a job or an offer letter for taking up employment.
- Nomination to participate in the Tokyo Olympic Games.
The Government is advising that vaccination may be availed in such cases through a Passport, one of the permissible ID documents as per the current guidelines so that the passport number is printed in the vaccination certificate. However, suppose Passport was not used at the time of administration of the first dose. In that case, the details of the photo ID Card used for vaccination will be printed in the vaccination certificate, and mention of the Passport in the vaccination certificate is not to be insisted upon. Wherever necessary, the competent authority will issue another certificate linking the vaccination certificate with the beneficiary’s passport number.
This facility is available to those who need to undertake international travel for these specified purposes in the period up to August 31, 2021.
If you are scheduled to fly abroad for education or work, or if you are one of the lucky few scheduled to participate in Tokyo Olympics 2020, you get to cut the line for the second dose of the Covid-19 vaccine. You will need to do some running around to get permission to do this, but the good news is, it will be done.
If you were stuck in the vaccination scheduling mess, do share how your experience works out to get out of it.
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