Indian students travelling abroad can now take a Covid-19 booster shot or precaution dose before the stipulated nine-month waiting period, said the federal health minister Dr Mansukh Mandaviya on May 12, 2022.
The minister took to Twitter to announce that Indian citizens including students are now eligible to take the booster shot as per the guidelines of the destination nation. He further added that the new facility will soon be added to the CoWIN portal.
NTAGI (National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation) had previously said that those travelling abroad could shorten the government-stipulated gap of nine months between the second and booster dose. Later, this recommendation was forwarded to the Health Ministry.
However, NTAGI has made no recommendation on reducing the gap from nine to six months for all citizens.
The Ministry of Health received a number of requests related to booster shots for Indians travelling abroad for higher education, jobs, sports events, and bilateral and multilateral meetings as per India's official delegation.
Till now, only those above 18 years who have completed nine months after the Covid-19 second dose are allowed for the ‘booster shot’.
In India, Covid-19 precaution doses were made available from January 10, 2022, to frontline healthcare workers and those above 60 years of age with comorbidities. The comorbidity clause was done away with in March, allowing all Indian citizens above 60 to get precaution dose of the Covid-19 vaccine.
According to the latest data, the booster uptake in India for the general population is low, with only three crore citizens fully vaccinated after having received the precautionary third shot.
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Source: The Telegraph