People going abroad to get vaccine priority

New order issued for students and job-seekers

Students and individuals who are going abroad for higher studies or jobs and for whom COVID-19 vaccination certificate is necessary will be given Covishield vaccine at an inter-dose interval of four to six weeks.

A new order issued by the government said those going abroad would now get vaccination certificates issued by the Health and Family Welfare Department, wherein the passport number would be recorded.

With many countries insisting on a valid COVID-19 vaccination certificate for travel clearance, those waiting to go abroad had been in a fix. The certificates issued through the CoWin portal did not indicate the passport number of the beneficiary, as the current settings ask for Aadhaar or other photo ID proof.

Another issue affecting travel clearance was that many countries insisted on certificates with the brand name of the vaccine as Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine.

The new vaccination schedule for Covishield, fixed by the Centre, which extended the inter-dose interval to 12-16 weeks, was also threatening to derail the travel plans of many going abroad, who had fixed their travel plans on the basis of the earlier vaccination schedule. Many stood to lose their university admissions or jobs if they could not reach their destinations on schedule.

Though the State government had written to the Centre raising these issues, there was no response. Which is why the State government has now stepped in to issue the new order, enabling travel clearance for those going abroad.

Students and others going abroad for higher studies or jobs have already been given priority in the categories selected for vaccination in the 18-44 year age group by the government. They will be provided Covishield vaccine from the stock the State government has directly procured from manufacturers.

At present, CoWin portal does not allow the second dose to be administered before 12 weeks of receiving the first vaccine dose. Hence, the second dose will have to be recorded separately by districts.

The districts will verify relevant documents such as live visa, admission/job confirmation document/work permit prior to issuing vaccination for this category of beneficiaries.

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