Students headed abroad await clarity on second dose of Covishield
Students with offers from foreign universities are anxious to know the process they have to follow to get the second dose of Covishield four weeks after the first, a concession that has been allowed to them.
India is following a policy of administering the second dose of Covishield 12 weeks after the first.
The Centre on Monday announced that students with offers from foreign institutions, professionals with job offers from abroad and members of the Indian contingent bound for the Tokyo Olympics would be allowed to take the second dose of the vaccine 28 days after the first.
Till late on Tuesday, the Bengal health department had not announced any guideline on how such people would take the second dose. The state government has to appoint officials who will check whether someone seeking the second dose earlier than usual has a genuine reason to do so.
The state has to “designate a competent authority in each district for according permission for such administration of second dose of Covishield”, the announcement by the Centre says.
“It usually takes two or three days for the state health department to issue detailed state-specific guidelines after the Centre announces any policy shift,” a health department official said on Tuesday.
Class XII examinees who have offers to study undergraduate courses in other countries, research scholars at foreign institutions as well as students who returned home in the middle of a course and are planning to fly back are among those who are anxious to know the procedure to get the Covishield second dose four weeks after the first.
Several such students told Metro they did not know where to submit documents as evidence of offers from foreign universities and whether the CoWIN portal would book their slots for the second dose before the mandatory 84 days from the first.
The health ministry’s announcement mentioned some of the documents that those who want their second dose early have to produce.
Those relate 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 offer letters
⚫ Nomination to participate in the Tokyo Olympic games.
The health ministry has also advised that those who are yet to take their first dose of Covishield should use a passport as the identity document for the jab so that the vaccination certificate has the passport number printed on it.
Avani Agarwal, 25, who started her online classes for a master’s course at Columbia University on June 1, is planning to fly to New York in August. “I do not know how I will get the second dose early. Will the portal allow me to get a slot?” she said.
Siddhanth Gupta, who is planning to go to Queen Mary University of London in August, said “there should be a provision for us to produce documents and get the jabs at the earliest”.