Updated: May 29, 2021 7:25:11 am
The Kerala Health Department Friday tweaked vaccination norms for those travelling abroad, allowing them to take the second dose of Covishield vaccine after four to six weeks of the first one, as against the existing 12-16-week interval recommended now.
Last week, the state government had included those travelling abroad for jobs and studies among priority groups for vaccination, to be administered Covishield procured by the government.
Health Minister Veena George said Kerala had brought issues being faced by foreign-bound passengers to the notice of the Centre, and requested it to allow concession for them in administering the second dose of Covishield. The state government decided to go ahead as there was no direction from the Centre, she said.
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation also announced Friday that those going abroad for studies would be given priority among the 18-44-year age group for Covid-19 vaccination. The municipal corporation has set aside three days in the week (Monday to Wednesday) for their vaccination without pre-registration, at specified centres in Mumbai.
In a late-night notification, the BMC said students with proof of confirmed admission at foreign universities or the required foreign visa will get preference along with lactating women, the specially abled and senior citizens at vaccination centres.
Due to shortage of vaccines, shots for the 18-44 group have been halted at BMC centres. Some private hospitals in Mumbai are offering vaccines, but only with prior appointment.
Kerala said it would issue the Covid vaccination certificate with the passport number of the recipient recorded in it. Several countries have made Covid vaccination certificates mandatory for travel clearance, including with passport numbers indicated on them.
George said they would give such recipients Covishield as the WHO has cleared it.
With Co-WIN not allowing booking of a slot before 12 weeks between doses, those headed abroad would be cleared by districts after verifying documents. Certificates to them would be issued by district medical officers.
“Many are at the risk of losing their job if they don’t report to work within the stipulated time frame. Further, most countries have not included Covaxin in the approved Covid vaccine list. Hence those who have taken Covaxin are facing hindrance in travel clearance,” said George.
Maharashtra Guardian Minister Aaditya Thackeray tweeted that he would be speaking to other municipal corporations across the state “to implement the same for students in and around those cities with confirmation letters for universities abroad”. “The numbers are small, but their career opportunities can’t be missed,” he posted.
The BMC also announced that those above the age of 45 seeking their first dose of Covishield, those up for their second dose of the same as well as those seeking their second dose of Covaxin will be allowed to walk in without registration and appointment between Monday and Wednesday every week.
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