Indian government issues new vaccine SOPs for people undertaking international travel


The Indian government has issued new standard operating procedures for vaccination of people undertaking international travel for educational purposes, employment opportunities, or as part of India’s contingent for the Tokyo Olympic Games.

Currently, based on the recommendations by the National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for Covid-19 (NEGVAC), the schedule of Covishield vaccine under the National Covid-19 Vaccination Strategy is to administer the second dose at 12-16 weeks interval (i.e., after 84 days), after administration of the first dose.

However, with the aim of providing full coverage of vaccination and facilitating international travel for genuine reasons, certain procedures shall be followed for the early administration of the second dose of the Covishield vaccine.

The special dispensation will be available to the following:

  • Students who have to undertake foreign travel for the purposes of education.
  • People who have to take up jobs in foreign countries.
  • Athletes, sportspersons, and accompanying staff of Indian contingent attending International Olympic Games to be held in Tokyo.

As per Centre’s guidelines, states/UT governments shall designate a competent authority in each district for the administration of the second dose of Covishield. They will check the following criteria before according permission for the administration of the second dose before the period of 84 days after the date of the first dose:

Whether a period of 28 days has elapsed after the date of the first dose.

Genuineness of the purpose of travel based on documents related to-

  • Admission offers or associated formal communications for the purpose of education.
  • Whether a person is already studying in a foreign educational institution and has to return to that institution for continuing his/her education.
  • Interview calls for a job or offers letters for taking up employment.
  • Nomination to participate in the Tokyo Olympic Games.

Cowin certificates will be linked to the passport of such travellers. An official statement by the government reads, “It is advised that vaccination may be availed in such 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 vaccination certificate.

“However, if the passport was not used at the time of administration of the first dose, the details of the photo ID Card used for vaccination will be printed in the vaccination certificate and mention of the passport in the vaccination certificate is not to be insisted upon. Wherever necessary, the competent authority may issue another certificate linking the vaccination certificate with the passport number of the beneficiary.”

Mention of vaccine-type as “Covishield” is sufficient and no other qualifying entries are required in the vaccination certificates.