New Delhi [India], June 7 (ANI): The Health Ministry on Monday said it had written to states for providing relaxation to some specified categories including Olympic-bound athletes and students needing foreign travel for education, in getting the second dose of Covishield from the stipulated 12-16 week gap from the first dose.
The Health Ministry said in a release that it had got representation for such relaxations and had conveyed the SOPs (standard operating procedure) for administering the second dose of COVID-19 vaccine to the states.
It said the issue was discussed in Empowered Group 5 (EG-5) and appropriate recommendations have been received in this context.
"This special dispensation will be available to students who have to undertake foreign travel for the purposes of education, persons who have to take up jobs in foreign countries and athletes, sportspersons and accompanying staff of Indian contingent attending International Olympic Games be held in Tokyo," the ministry said.
It said that states and UT governments shall designate a competent authority in each district for according permission for the administration of the second dose of Covishield to the persons given relaxation.
The ministry said that the competent authority will make various checks before according permission for the administration of the second dose before the period of 84 days after the date of the first dose.
This includes whether a period of 28 days has elapsed after the date of the first dose and the genuineness of the purpose of travel based on documents.
"It is advised that vaccination may be availed in cases through passport which is one of the permissible ID documents as per the current guidelines so that the passport number is printed in the Certificate," the release said.
It said if the passport was not used at the time of administration of the first dose, 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 should not be insisted upon.
"Wherever necessary, the competent authority may issue another certificate linking the vaccination certificate with the passport number of the beneficiary."
The ministry said the facility is available to those who need to undertake international travel for these specified purposes till August 31 this year.
It said all technical protocols as prescribed in the guidelines regarding COVID Vaccination Centres and AEFI management shall have to be followed.
It said CoWIN system will soon provide the facility for the administration of 2nd dose in such exceptional cases.
At present, based on the recommendations by the National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for COVID-19 (NEGVAC), the schedule of the Covishield vaccine under the National COVID-19 Vaccination Strategy is to administer the 2nd dose at 12-16 weeks interval (i.e. after 84 days), after administration of the first dose.
The release said that the Centre has been supporting the efforts of States and UTs for an effective vaccination drive under the 'Whole of Government" approach since January 16 this year.
The ministry said it has received representations for allowing administration of second dose of Covishield from persons who have taken first dose of the vaccine from those "whose planned travel dates fall prior to completion of the currently mandated minimum interval of 84 days from the date of the first dose" and had written to States and UTs "to facilitate vaccination" where relaxation has been given.
It said that mentioning 'Covishield' is sufficient and no other qualifying entries required in vaccination certificates. Covishield is manufactured by the Serum Institute of India and has been developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University. (ANI)