People wishing to travel abroad for studies and those headed for Tokyo as part of India’s Olympics contingent may take their second dose of Covishield four weeks after the first, the Union health ministry has said.
The ministry has asked all states to enable people planning international travel to receive the second dose after 28 days if their travel dates occur prior to the currently mandated minimum dose gap of 84 days.
This provision will be available for students who have to travel abroad for education, people who have to take up jobs in foreign countries, and sportspersons and staff who are part of the Indian contingent for the July 23-August 8 Tokyo Olympics.
Those wishing to use this provision would need to show documents such as admission offers or formal communications from educational institutions, interview calls for jobs or letters of job offers, and nomination for the Tokyo Games.
These vaccine recipients would need to use their passports to register on CoWin, the digital platform, the ministry said.
This facility will be available up to August 31 for those who need to travel abroad for these purposes, it said.
The health ministry had in mid-May accepted a recommendation from vaccination expert panels to expand the gap between Covishield doses to 12-16 weeks from the earlier 6-8 weeks.
Covishield, the AstraZeneca vaccine produced by the Serum Institute of India, is one of several vaccines that has received “emergency use listing (EUL)” from the World Health Organisation, a criterion some countries and educational institutions are using to recognise vaccination certificates.
Covaxin, India’s home-grown vaccine developed by Bharat Biotech, is in the process of seeking the EUL from the WHO. A pre-submission meeting to discuss Covaxin’s application for the EUL is expected to take place this month.
Covid-19 vaccines from AstraZeneca, Pfizer and Moderna and China’s Sinopharm are among those that have already received the EUL from the WHO.