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Tokyo 2020

Olympic-bound athletes, officials to receive 2nd dose of COVID-19 vaccine after 4 weeks

The gap between two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine for Olympic-bound athletes and officials has been set to four weeks by the Ministry of Health

M C Mary Kom and Lovlina Borgohain

M C Mary Kom and Lovlina Borgohain



Updated: 7 Jun 2021 4:50 PM GMT

The gap between two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine for Olympic-bound athletes and officials has been set to four weeks by the Ministry of Health, informed Indian Olympic Association (IOA) President Narinder Batra on Monday.

Batra has communicated the same to national sports federations. "All NSFs whose Athletes have Qualified for Tokyo Olympics. Letter has been issued by Ministry of Health Government of India, that in the case of Tokyo Bound Athletes and officals, the 2nd dose of vaccination will be done after 4 weeks of 1st dose of Vaccination," Batra said in a statement.

Last month, a government panel had recommended that the dosage interval of Serum Insititute of India's Covishield vaccine be increased to 12-16 weeks. However, the gap between the two doses of Bharat Biotech's Covaxin is four weeks.

The IOA on Sunday had said 120 athletes and 27 para-athletes have so far received at least one dose of the vaccine. The body said that there are 62 fully-vaccinated athletes, including four para athletes. From among coaches and support staff members, 114 have received their first shots while 37 are fully vaccinated.

The body had also urged five Olympic-bound sportspersons, who have recovered from COVID-19 in the recent past, to take their first dose of the vaccine as soon as possible. The Tokyo Olympics will open on July 23.

SOPs on Administration of Second Dose of Covishield Vaccine Prior to Prescribed Time Interval(after 28 days but before 84 days) to persons intending to undertake international travel for education purpose, for joining employment in foreign countries and for India's contingent to Tokyo Olympics

1. Presently, based on the recommendations by National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for COVID-19 (NÉGVAC), the schedule of Covishield vaccine under National Covid-19 Vaccination Strategy is to administer the 2nd dose at 12-16 weeks interval (i.e. after 84 days),after administration of 1st dose.

2.The Union Ministry of Health & Family Welfare has received several representations forallowing administration of second dose of Covishield forsuchpersons who have only taken first dose of Covishield and are seeking to undertake international travel foreducational purposes or employment oppurtunitiesor for part of India's contingent for Tokyo Olympic games, but whose planned travel dates fall prior to complettion of the currently mandated minimum interval of 84 days from the date of first dose.

3.The matter has been discussed in Empowered Group 5 (EG-5) and appropriate recommendations have been received. In this context,with a view to provide full coverage of vaccination and facilitating international travel for such geninue reasons, following procedure shall be followed for administration of second dose of Covishield vaccine for such beneficiaries –

a.This special dispensation will be available to –

(i)Students who have to undertake foreign travel for the purposes of education.

(ii)Persons who have to take up jobs in foreign countries.

(iii)Athletes, Sportspersons and accompanying staff of Indian contingent attending International Olympic Games to be held in Tokyo.

b.States/UT governments shall designate a comptent authority in each District for according permission for such administration of second dose of Covishield.

c.The competent authority shall check the following before according a permission for administration of second dose before the period of 84 days after the date of first dose –

(i)Whether a period of 28 days haselapsed after the date of first dose.

(ii)Genuineness of the purpose of travel based on documents related to –

1.Admission offers or associated formal communicationsfor the purpose of education.

2.Whether a person is already studying in a foreign educational institution and has to return to that institution for contnuing his/her education.

3.Interview calls for a job or offer letters for taking up employment

4.Nomination to participate in the Tokyo Olympic games.

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

e.This facility shall be available to those who need to undertake internationaltravel for these specified purposes in the period up to31st August, 2021.

f.All technical protocols as prescribed in the Guidelines of the Ministry regarding COVID Vaccination Centres and AEFI management etc. shall have to be followed.

4. It is clarified that Covishield,produced by the Serum Institute of India and approved by the DCGI, isone of the vaccines recognised by the WHO for emergency use as on 3rd June 2021.The relevant entry is at S.No.4of the WHO EUL, available at https://extranet.who.int/pqweb/sites/default/files/documents/Status of COVID-19 Vaccines within WHO EUL-PQ evaluation process - 3 June 2021.pdf. Mention of vaccine type as "Covishield" is sufficient and no other qualifying entries are required in the vaccination certificates.

5.The Co-WIN system will soon provide the facility for administration of 2nd dose in such exceptional cases.

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