Janata Dal Secular (JDS) leader HD Kumaraswamy has urged the Karnataka government to prioritise vaccination of those flying abroad to study in foreign universities as many of these educational institutions require full inoculation.
"It is that time of the year when thousands of young Kannadigas go abroad to study. Since many countries/universities have made COVID-19 vaccination mandatory before entering the country/campus, it is the government's duty to prioritize this group of youngsters for vaccination," Mr Kumaraswamy tweeted.
It is that time of the year when thousands of young Kannadigas go abroad to study. Since many countries/universities have made COVID-19 vaccination mandatory before entering the country/campus, it is the govt's duty to prioritize this group of youngsters for vaccination.— H D Kumaraswamy (@hd_kumaraswamy) May 29, 2021
The former Karnataka chief minister also said schools and colleges – shut for months due to the pandemic – should be converted into vaccination facilities.
"I also urge the govt. to convert schools and colleges into vaccination centers. Currently, there is a chance of Covid transmission since vaccination is being done at the same hospitals where Covid+ patients are being treated," he added.
Some states like Maharashtra and Kerala have already taken measures to fully vaccinate (2 doses) this group on priority. I urge @CMofKarnataka and the Chief Secretary to take the necessary steps immediately to fully vaccinate the group on priority.— H D Kumaraswamy (@hd_kumaraswamy) May 29, 2021
Mr Kumaraswamy said Maharashtra and Kerala have already categorised such students as a priority group.
Yesterday, Maharashtra Minister Aaditya Thackeray announced that Mumbai students with confirmed admission to foreign universities will be inoculated on priority.
"For students who have received confirmation of admission in universities abroad and require vaccines for the same, the @mybmc has arranged free, walk-in vaccination this coming Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday (31st May 1st, 2nd June) at 3 centres - Rajawadi, Cooper and Kasturba," Mr Thackeray tweeted, adding they will have to show supporting documents.
The vaccination drive, billed as the world's largest, has flagged due to a severe shortage of vaccines. Several foreign-bound students are having difficulties in securing complete vaccination.
Some students inoculated with Bharat Biotech's Covaxin are worried that they will not be allowed to join their campuses as the vaccine has not been approved by the World Health Organisation. The US, Canada, Australia, Ireland and the European Union are among those that do not have Covaxin on their approved list of vaccines for now.
Bharat Biotech, in a statement last week, said regulatory approvals for Covaxin are in process in "more than 60 countries" including the US, Brazil and Hungary.