Government considers booster dose of COVID-19 vaccine for those traveling abroad

New Delhi: The government may soon authorize a precautionary booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine for those seeking to travel abroad for education, employment, sport and to attend official or business engagements, officials said on Saturday. official sources.

Discussions are also underway on whether overseas travelers opting for a booster dose should receive the vaccine at private vaccination centers and pay for it, they said.

Currently, healthcare and frontline workers and people over the age of 60 are receiving precautionary doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.

While regular international flights are expected to resume from Sunday, the Department of External Affairs recently highlighted the travel restrictions being applied by some countries due to the requirement for a third dose/booster and how this is impacting necessary trips of Indian travelers, sources knowledgeable in the matter told PTI.

It is also learned that the Union Department of Health has received representations to authorize the administration of a precautionary dose for those seeking to travel for job opportunities, educational purposes or to attend official/commercial engagements, etc.

“In view of these elements, the Ministry of Health is actively considering authorizing a booster / precautionary dose of the COVID vaccine for those seeking to travel abroad for employment, admission to educational institutions foreigners, participation in sports tournaments, bilateral and multilateral meetings as part of India’s official delegation or to attend business engagements,” an official source told PTI.

No official directive in this regard has been issued by the Union Ministry of Health again.

Prioritization and sequencing of the COVID-19 booster dose would be based on the completion of nine months from the date of administration of the second dose, in accordance with existing guidelines.

The nationwide vaccination campaign was launched on January 16, 2021, with healthcare workers being vaccinated in the first phase. Vaccination of frontline workers began on February 2 last year.

The next phase of the COVID-19 vaccination started on March 1 last year for people over 60 and those 45 and over with specified comorbidities.

India launched the vaccination for all people over the age of 45 from April 1 last year.

The government then decided to extend its vaccination campaign by allowing anyone over the age of 18 to be vaccinated against the viral disease from May 1 last year.

The next phase of vaccination started on January 3 this year for adolescents in the 15-18 age group.

India started administering precautionary doses of the vaccines to healthcare and frontline workers and people aged 60 and over with co-morbidities from January 10 this year.

Vaccination against COVID-19 for children aged 12 to 14 started on March 16 this year.

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