The Centre on Monday said the gap between two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine for those undertaking international travel for educational purposes, employment opportunities, or as part of India’s contingent for Tokyo Olympic games has now been set to four weeks.
The announcement comes as several individuals seeking to undertake international travel for educational, employment or Olympic-bound athletes the gap between two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine sought intervention from the government to reduce the second’s dose’s mandated minimum interval of 84 days from the date of first dose. Last month, a government panel had recommended that the dosage interval of Serum Insititute of India’s Covishield vaccine be increased to 12-16 weeks.
These facilities will be available to those who need to undertake international travel for these specified purposes in the period up to August 31, 2021.
With a view to providing full coverage of vaccination and facilitating international travel, the following procedure shall be followed for the administration of a second dose of the Covishield vaccine for such beneficiaries, the official statement said.
This special dispensation will be available to —
a) Students who have to undertake foreign travel for the purposes of education.
b) Persons who have to take up jobs in foreign countries
c) Athletes, Sportspersons and accompanying staff of Indian contingent attending International Olympic Games be held in Tokyo
States/UT governments shall designate a competent authority in each district for according permission for such administration of second dose of Covishield.
The competent authority shall check the following before according a permission for administration of second dose before the period of 84 days after date of first dose —
a. Whether a period of 28 days has elapsed after the date of first dose.
b. Genuineness of the purpose of travel based on documents related to — i. Admission Offers or associated formal communications for the of education. ii. Whether a person is already studying a foreign educational institution and has to return to that institution for continuing their education. iii. Interview calls for a job or offer letters for taking up employment. iv. Nomination to participate in the Tokyo Olympic games.
The Centre in its SOP advised that vaccination may be availed as ID documents as per the current guidelines so that the passport number is printed in the Certificate. If Passport was not used at the time of administration of 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 is not to be insisted upon.
Wherever necessary, the competent authority may issue another certificate linking the vaccination certificate with the passport number of the beneficiary, it said.
The Centre said mention of the vaccine type as "Covishield" is sufficient and no other qualifying entries are required in the vaccination certificates.
The CoWIN system will soon provide the facility for the administration of second dose in such exceptional cases, it added.