Vaccinations for students going abroad scuppered by shortages.

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Students from India have had their education and study plans hindered by lack of available vaccines.

Several states in India have prioritised vaccines for students going overseas to study, the main problem is the shortage of vaccines. It has put many students’ foreign study plans in jeopardy, along with school leaving exams being cancelled as well. For the most part, the country intends to prioritise the more needy or vulnerable groups for vaccine distribution.

Before the pandemic, about 60k students travelled from the state of Maharashtra for international study. When students complained of closed visa offices, the government tried to consult with diplomatic missions of destination countries to help students with admissions travel safely. In Karnataka state, the National Health Mission amended the list of preferential groups for inoculation by adding four more groups. Among them are students going abroad for higher education and those travelling overseas for employment. So far, 2000 students have applied for this preferential vaccination program in Kerala.

Many state governments have also decided to give the 2nd dose of the vaccine within 6 weeks of the 1st dose, instead of 12 to 16 weeks recommended by the health authorities. It has been done to help students travelling abroad be immunised in time. Some countries could also require vaccine passports for international students, thereby highlighting the urgency to get vaccinated, though it is not yet mandated. Most universities in the United States, are providing the vaccine themselves, helping to ease student’s worries about travelling aboard for study. Despite the government’s best efforts, there is still a limited number of vaccines available. Students travelling abroad for study have been given priority, but some have been unable to receive it due to limited stock.

Even the school leaving exams have been cancelled to help prevent more people from contracting and spreading the disease, with the prime minister’s office stating that the decision was because of uncertain conditions and feedback from stakeholders. It is claimed that other options are available for students who still wish to take the exams, when the time is right. Many states have also stated their intention to cancel such examinations and have already done so. This has the potential to hinder students who need to submit their results to be accepted into international schools on time.

As reported by University World News, Yocket’s Sumeet Jain has claimed that such actions are a logical decision because it cleared the uncertainty of when they would be held. He also claimed that students were getting worried about their postponement. It would make it easier for them to plan their further education abroad with upcoming reports. He also claimed that students could still apply for foreign universities using the assessment route. It is stated to be something that the International Baccalaureate organisation has also done.

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