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covid: India relaxes booster dose rules for overseas travellers: What it means | India News

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NEW DELHI: The Centre on Thursday allowed Indians travelling abroad to take the precaution (booster) dose of the Covid vaccine as per the norms of the destination country.
This effectively means that those travelling overseas do not necessarily have to wait for nine months to receive the third dose of the vaccine. For Indian citizens not travelling abroad, the nine-month stipulated waiting period will remain force.
The Union health ministry’s decision was based on recommendations by the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (NTAGI).
The relaxed norms apply to those looking to travel abroad for employment, business commitments, admission to foreign educational institutes, participating in sports events, and bilateral and multilateral meetings as part of India’s official delegation.
Why the norms were relaxed
The Centre’s decision to relax booster dose norms will make it easier for people travelling to countries with strict vaccination requirements.
For instance, Israel allows entry to only those who have taken the second dose no more than six months (180 days) before travelling, or received a booster shot.
Many European Union (EU) countries have similar booster dose requirements.
Countries like France, Italy, Spain, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Netherlands, Czech Republic, Estonia, Portugal, Switzerland allow entry to those who have taken the second dose no more than 270 days before travelling, or received a booster shot no more than 270 days ago to qualify as fully vaccinated.
The booster dose norms vary from country to country once you are inside. While countries like Italy have specified that a booster shot has unlimited validity, Austria has set a 270-day limit for the fourth jab.
However, several other countries have not yet made booster dose mandatory for entry.
UK, US, Singapore, several African and Asian countries allow entry to travellers if they are fully vaccinated with the 2-dose regimen.
Similarly, India too allows entry to those who have received both jabs of the vaccine and does not have a booster dose mandate yet.
India began administering precaution doses of Covid vaccines to healthcare and frontline workers and those aged 60 and above with comorbidities from January 10 this year.
The comorbidity clause was removed in March making all people aged above 60 eligible for the precaution dose of Covid vaccine.
On April 10, India began administering precaution doses of Covid-19 vaccines to all aged above 18 years at private vaccination centres.
(With inputs from agencies)

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