Mumbai students, who are scheduled to leave for foreign universities to pursue their studies, have expressed their happiness over the state government's decision of prioritising their COVID-19 vaccination and the Centre's guideline to reduce the mandated gap between two doses of the Covishield vaccine.
Sanjay Rajpal, an aspiring engineer who took admission in Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, United States told ANI that the approval for administering the second dose of vaccine after 28 days in emergency cases instead of 84 days for Covishield will be a boon for students looking forward to travelling abroad this year.
"The Maharashtra government is carrying out special drives for students and they are also helping students to procure vaccine doses on priority. It is major support amid the struggle to book a vaccination appointment when the slots are gone within a minute," said Rajpal.
"It will be very beneficial for students as now we can schedule our appointments through one of these drives conducted by the government especially for us. This was I will be ready for my travel in August," he added.
The Union 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 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.
Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Arindam Bagchi addressing a press briefing on Thursday said, "We are aware of the challenges being faced by the Indian students who are unable to join or return to foreign countries to pursue their studies. We have been taking this issue up with the concerned governments on priority." Bagchi said that the Ministry has requested students facing difficulties to contact it regarding the matter.