In an attempt to help students studying abroad, especially in the US and Canada, whose semesters are scheduled to begin, the municipal corporations in Vadodara and Surat on Monday held a special drive to administer the second dose of Covishield vaccine to 216 students in Vadodara and 284 in Surat.
The VMC had set up a special centre at the nursing college, where students who had pre-registered on the VMC portal for taking the second dose due to their special case, gathered to get the jab. Medical Officer for Health, VMC, Dr Devesh Patel said, “A total of 281 students had registered, of which, 216 were vaccinated for the second dose of Covishield. Others who registered could not be given the second dose for many reasons. Some had not completed 28 days, or some had made errors in the documents and some were those who got Covaxin. If more such students seek second dose, we will hold another camp. Those who have taken Covaxin will be able to receive the second dose shortly once the stock arrives.”
Vadodara Mayor Keyur Rokadia said, “The decision to administer the second dose to the students wanting to travel abroad was taken in the larger interest so that they do not face any difficulties when they travel to their universities outside India.”
A student, who is headed to Canada was among those who was vaccinated on Monday. She says, “I had taken my first dose on May 3, keeping in mind that I could take my next vaccine by end of May. But I was feeling anxious when the policy change happened and the gap was increased to 84 days. I have to fly by June-end… Having taken both doses of the vaccination will be of great help… Although it is not a pre-requisite condition that the students have to be vaccinated, it is indeed a relief that the dose has been administered.”
Another student travelling to the US for the semester beginning in August-September said, “I am to join the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and we have received an intimation that incoming students must be fully be vaccinated. The medical head of the university has been in touch with the students to ensure and track the vaccinations and those students who are arriving from countries where vaccination is not available have been told that they will be administered FDA- approved doses on arrival on campus. But for India, they expect the students to be immunised.”
The students received the Covishield jab, which was also the vaccine of their first dose. “I did not choose Covaxin on purpose because it is not yet approved by the World Health Organisation and most countries do not recognise it. Covishield is approved in Canada but unavailable for administering in the US and so the students who have received Covishield have to get the second dose here before leaving. Otherwise, getting a second dose of another drug company in the US could cause health issues,” said a student travelling to the US, whose cousin is also travelling to Canada from Vadodara.
SMC vaccinated a total of 274 students on Monday after they registered themselves online. Sources said that since the last three days, SMC health department has registered 875 students from Surat city and districts.
SMC Deputy Health Commissioner Dr Ashish Naik said, “We will continue taking registration online and a time slot will be given to them. We aim to vaccinate 275 to 300 students per day. This drive will continue for the coming days.”