Relaxing norms for COVID-19 vaccine precaution dose, the Union government on Thursday, May 12, allowed citizens travelling overseas to get the shot before the stipulated nine-month waiting period, as required by the guidelines of the destination country. The Union Health Ministry's decision to relax the norms about the precaution dose for overseas travellers was based on recommendations by the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (NTAGI).
"Indian citizens and students travelling overseas can now take the precaution dose as required by the guidelines of the destination country. This new facility will be available soon on the CoWIN portal," Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya said in a tweet. The advisory panel last week had recommended that those who need to travel overseas can take the precaution dose of the COVID-19 vaccine as required by the country they are travelling to before the mandatory nine-month gap.
Currently, all those above 18 years who have completed nine months after the second dose are eligible for the precaution jab. The ministry had received several representations seeking the precaution dose of COVID-19 vaccine for those who have to travel abroad for employment, business commitments, admission to foreign educational institutes, participating in sports events, and bilateral and multilateral meetings as part of India's official delegation.
"The issue was discussed in a meeting of NTAGI held last week after which it recommended that those who need to travel overseas can take the booster shot, before the stipulated nine-month waiting period, as per the booster guidelines of the country they are travelling to," a source had said.
India began administering precaution doses of COVID-19 vaccines to healthcare and frontline workers and those aged 60 and above with comorbidities on January 10 this year. The comorbidity clause was removed in March, making all people aged above 60 eligible for the precaution dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. On April 10, India began administering precaution doses of COVID-19 vaccines to all aged above 18 years at private vaccination centres.