Kerala reduces vaccination gap for foreign-bound students, workers

A beneficiary receives a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at Moti Lal Nehru Medical College in Prayagraj. PTI

Keralites who are going abroad for studies and work do not have to wait longer for Covid-19 vaccination from now on.

The guidelines issued by the State Health Department on Friday stated that foreign-bound students and labourers will be given priority in vaccination. Besides, the gap between the first and second dose for them will be reduced to four to six weeks.

What does this mean? If someone who took the first dose wants to travel abroad, the health department will provide them with the second dose within 4 to 6 weeks. They will be issued a special vaccination certificate with the passport number.

Since the CoWIN portal doesn't have provisions to accommodate this yet, the State will make special arrangements to ensure this second jab.

Foreign-bound students and workers will be administered the Covishield vaccine secured by the State government.

The central government recently increased the gap between the two doses to 12 to 16 weeks.

The decision to prioritise foreign travellers was taken in the wake of reports that most countries are demanding vaccination certificates with passport numbers from the students.

Passport numbers are not included in the vaccine certificates issued in India.

However, Kerala’s special vaccination certificate, issued by the District Medical Officer, will carry the passport number.

The State has also ramped up vaccination drives among the field staff of various government departments, such as food and civil supplies, postal, social justice, women and child development, fisheries and teachers assigned for the valuation of SSLC, higher secondary and vocational higher secondary examinations.

Vaccination for the prioritised groups in the 18-44 years age category began in Kerala on May 17. People with comorbidities, belonging to this age group, were included in the first priority group.

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