The Government has eased rules to allow early second doses of the Covishield vaccine for Indian citizens who want to travel abroad for studies and employment as well as the country’s athletes and their support contingents participating in the Tokyo Olympics.
The Centre has directed the states to allow these individuals to be vaccinated after 28 days of the first Covishield shot as the mandatory 84-day gap between the two doses has been relaxed for them considering the special circumstances. Facilities are to be provided for such cases even at the district level.
This facility shall be available to those who need to undertake international travel for these specified purposes in the period up to 31st August, 2021, the Centre has informed the states.
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. If the 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.
The government has also clarified that Covishield, produced by the Serum Institute of India and cleared by the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) is one of the vaccines approved by the WHO for use as on 3rd June 2021.
Mention of vaccine type as “Covishield” is sufficient and no other qualifying entries are required in the vaccination certificates.
The Centre has informed the states that the step has been undertaken, “taking note of the several representations received by Union Ministry of Health & Family Welfare for allowing administration of second dose of Covishield for such persons who have only taken first dose of Covishield and are seeking to undertake international travel for educational purposes or employment opportunities or as part of India's contingent for Tokyo Olympic games,” the order states.
The Health Ministry has issued special operating procedures (SOPs) in this regard which have been conveyed to States/UTs. States/UTs have been advised to widely publicize and take all necessary measures to immediately implement these SOPs.