The Karnataka government today started administering vaccine shots to those heading abroad to study, bringing relief to many whose plans were clouded by the uncertainty surrounding the Covid crisis and the shortage of vaccines.
Besides arranging for these students to get vaccinated, the state government has also reduced the 12-week gap between the doses so that their plans are not delayed. The students can now get both doses less than six weeks apart.
There was a long queue at the dedicated centre in Bengaluru where such students are being given the shot and the relief showed on their faces.
Melissa is set to leave for Canada to pursue an MSc in finance and had come to get the jab at the camp. "This is a relief. The greatest news is that they are shortening the time between vaccines," she told NDTV.
Also in the queue was Madhusudhan, whose excitement at clinching an internship at a San Francisco restaurant had been dampened by the Covid crisis and the shortage of vaccines for those under 45.
"It is definitely a big relief. This is an internship, one of those opportunities you get once in a lifetime. It was a lot of anxiety, but finally relief," the hotel management graduate told NDTV.
Deputy Chief Minister Dr Ashwath Narayan told NDTV that the decision to open the centre was taken following the demands of several people studying or working abroad. He added that the gap between the vaccines had to be reduced as the students have to return within a certain period. "We are trying our best to meet their requirements. We have started an exclusive centre for them. We are also coming out with a separate certificate in which their passport number is mentioned."
The vaccination of those in the 18-44 age group, which started on May 1, was put on hold in Karnataka following a shortage of vaccines. A priority was given to those over 45 who were to take their second dose. Some categories of people under 45 have now been made eligible for the shots.