The Union government is set to relax the norms for Covid vaccine precaution dose, allowing those going overseas to get the jab before the stipulated nine-month waiting period as required by the destination country, sources said on Wednesday. An official announcement, however, is yet to be made by the Union Health Ministry.
Sources said the decision to relax the norms about the precaution dose for overseas travelers was based on recommendations by the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunization (NTAGI). The advisory panel had recommended that those who need to travel overseas can take the precaution dose of Covid vaccine as required by the country they are traveling to before the mandatory nine-month gap.
As of now, all those above 18 years who have completed nine months after the second dose are eligible for the precaution jab. The Union Health Ministry has received several representations seeking the precaution dose of Covid vaccine for those who have to travel abroad for employment, business commitments, admission to foreign educational institutions, participating in sports events, and bilateral and multilateral meetings as part of India’s official delegation .
“The issue was discussed on Wednesday and the NTAGI has recommended that those who need to travel overseas can take the booster shot, before the stipulated nine-month waiting period, as required by the country they are traveling to,” a source said. India began administering precaution doses of Covid vaccines to healthcare and frontline workers and those aged 60 and above with comorbidities from January 10 this year.
The comorbidity clause was removed in March making all people aged above 60 eligible for the precaution dose of Covid vaccine. On April 10, India began administering precaution doses of COVID-19 vaccines to all aged above 18 years at private vaccination centers.