Must Link CoWIN Certificates To Passport If Planning To Travel Abroad; Center Issues New SOP

Government of India on Monday has issued guidelines to states and Union Territories to provide 2nd dose of vaccines for people planning to travel abroad and have completed 28 days of their first dose.

As per the guidelines, the travelers will now need to link the CoWIN certificates to their passports to travel outside the country.

In a statement, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said: “Taking note of the several representations received by the Ministry for allowing administration of second dose of Covishield for such persons who have only taken first dose of Covishield and are seeking to undertake international travel for educational purposes or employment opportunities or as part of India’s contingent for Tokyo Olympic games, but whose planned travel dates fall prior to completion of the currently mandated minimum interval of 84 days from the date of first dose, the Ministry has written to states/UTs to facilitate vaccination of such persons.”

It said that with the receipt of several representations, the issue was discussed in Empowered Group 5 (EG-5) and appropriate recommendations received in this context.

competent authority

According to the ministry, with a view to providing full vaccination and facilitating international travel for these segments of people, states and Union Territories were asked to designate a competent authority in each district for according permission for such administration of second dose of Covishield. The travelers also need to link the CoWIN certificates to their passports.

“The competent authority shall check the following before according a permission for administration of second dose before the period of 84 days after date of first dose — whether a period of 28 days has elapsed after the date of first dose, genuineness of the purpose of travel based on documents related to admission offers or associated formal communications for education, whether a person is already studying at a foreign educational institution and has to return to that institution for continuing their education, interview calls for a job or offer letters for taking up employment, and nomination to participate in the Tokyo Olympic Games,” it said.

The ministry said that it is advised that vaccination may be availed in cases through passport which is one of the permissible ID documents as per the current guidelines so that the passport number is printed in the certificate.

“If passport was not used at the time of administration of first dose, the details of the photo ID Card used for vaccination will printed in the vaccination certificate and mention of the passport in the vaccination certificate is not to be insisted upon,” said the Ministry.

It also added that wherever necessary, the competent authority may issue another certificate linking the vaccination certificate with the passport number of the beneficiary.

The ministry said that the facility shall be available to those who need to undertake international travel for these specified purposes in the period up to August 31.

The Ministry has issued standard operating procedures (SOPs) in this regard and advised the States and Union Territories to widely publicise and take all necessary measures to immediately implement them. The govt has made this change to provide full coverage of vaccination and facilitate international travel.

The government also clarified that Covishield, produced by the Serum Institute of India and approved by the DCGI, is one of the vaccines by the WHO for use as on June 3, 2021. The relevant entry is at serial number 4 of the WHO EUL.

“Mention of vaccine type as Covishield is sufficient and no other qualifying entries are required in the vaccination certificates,” it said. It further said that the CoWIN system will soon provide the facility for administration of 2nd dose in such exceptional cases.

(With inputs from IANS)

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