Hyderabad: The Central government reduced the time for the second dose of Covishield vaccine from 84 days to four weeks for students and employees traveling abroad.

The Union ministry of health and family welfare had received several representations asking the Centre to administer the second dose to persons who have only taken the first dose of Covishield and are travelling abroad but whose travel dates fall prior to the mandated minimum interval of 84 days.

The SOPs issued by the ministry to states and Union Territories stated, "With the receipt of several representations for allowing administration of 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 for participation in India's contingent for Tokyo Olympic games, but whose planned travel dates fall prior to completion of the currently mandated minimum interval of 84 days from the date of first dose, the issue was discussed in Empowered Group 5 (EG-5) and appropriate recommendations have been received in this context."

With a view to providing full coverage of vaccination and facilitating international travel for such genuine reasons, the ministry recommended the administration of second dose of Covishield to the following beneficiaries:

1. Students who have to undertake foreign travel for the purposes of education.

2. Persons who have to take up jobs in foreign countries.

3. Athletes, sportspersons, and accompanying staff of the Indian contingent attending the Olympic Games to be held in Tokyo.

The ministry further said that states and UT's shall designate a competent authority in each district for according permission for the administration of the second dose of Covishield.

Before giving permission for the administration of the second dose, the competent authority will check whether a period of 28 days has elapsed after the date of the first dose. It will also verify the genuineness of the purpose of travel based on documents related to admission offers; whether a person is already studying in a foreign institution and has to return to continue their education; interview calls for a job or offer letters for taking up employment; and nomination to participate in the Tokyo Olympic games.

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