The Kerala government on Friday decided to allow an early second dose of coronavirus vaccine Covishield for those travelling abroad, The Indian Express reported. Those going abroad will be allowed to take the second shot within four to six weeks after the first one, Kerala’s health department said.
Earlier in May, the Centre had said that the gap between two doses of the Covishield vaccine can be increased to 12-16 weeks. In January, when India’s inoculation drive began, the Centre had recommended a four-to-six-week interval. The recommended interval for Covishield has been altered on three occasions since then.
Kerala Health Minister Veena George said the state government had requested the Centre to allow a concession in receiving the second dose of Covishield for those travelling abroad. The state government decided to go ahead with a change in the norms as the Centre did not give any directions, George said, according to The Indian Express.
The Maharashtra government is also planning to vaccinate students who have received confirmation of admission in foreign universities. State minister Aaditya Thackeray said on Friday that the students would be able to get vaccinated for free through walk-in registration at three centres in Mumbai between May 31 and June 2.
Thackeray added that he will be speaking to other municipal corporations across the state to undertake similar measures.
“The numbers are small, but their career opportunities can’t be missed,” Thackeray tweeted.
On Saturday morning, however, Thackeray said that several beneficiaries had asked if they could take the second shot of the vaccine before the mandated 12 to 16 weeks gap recommended for Covishield.
“Since it is a medical advice, [civic body] Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation will discuss with the concerned authorities for the same to assist the students,” Thackeray tweeted. However, there was no clarity so far if the authorities were going ahead with the vaccination drive, or waiting for some clearance.
In Karnataka, Janata Dal (Secular) leader HD Kumaraswamy urged the BS Yediyurappa government to also prioritise vaccination of students going to study in foreign universities as many countries have made full inoculation against the coronavirus mandatory.
He flagged that states like Maharashtra and Kerala have taken measures to vaccinate students on priority. The former Karnataka chief minister said schools and colleges, shut due to the pandemic, should be converted into vaccination facilities. “Currently, there is a chance of Covid transmission since vaccination is being done at the same hospitals where Covid+ patients are being treated,” he tweeted.