Seeking admission at foreign university? Check Covid vaccination requirement and how to get immunized on priority

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Updated: June 15, 2021 3:28 PM

Several foreign universities, especially those in the US have made complete vaccination a mandatory criterion for international students to enter the campus.

https://indianexpress.com/article/india/vaishno-devi-jammu-fire-7349829/Vaccination policy for foreign universities starting fall semester

With the government finally allowing students waiting to fly abroad for higher studies to immunize on priority and fall semester dates of international universities approaching, Indian students are making a beeline at Covid-19 vaccination centers. Several foreign universities, especially those in the US have made complete vaccination a mandatory criterion for international students to enter the campus.

Foreign universities requiring vaccination

USA, UK, Australia, New Zealand, Canada are the top destinations for students. Currently, most foreign universities are asking for complete vaccination of students who would join campuses for the fall semester. Several US universities like the University of California, Berkley are considering providing students with an FDA-approved vaccine. New York University (NYU) will also require all students—undergraduate, graduate, and professional—to be vaccinated with an FDA-authorized or WHO-listed vaccine as a condition of having access to NYU buildings. The same holds true for the Northwestern University as well.

Another popular education destination, Columbia University mandates COVID-19 vaccinations for all students, undergraduate, and graduate, by the start of the Fall 2021 term, at least 14 days after the second dose (single dose in case of Johnson and Johnson vaccine). The University accepts all vaccines recognized as safe and effective according to the WHO and in limited situations, students can receive the vaccine from the University at no out-of-pocket cost.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has decided that every enrolled student must be fully vaccinated against Covid-19. The list also includes Yale University, Stanford, Harvard and Rutgers University in New Jersey.

As in the UK, International education consultants have assured that all international students in the universities in the UK will receive access to the Pfizer or BioNTech vaccines free of cost. Canada has not specified any vaccination requirements, but depending on the university policy and their COVID-19 readiness, international students may have to go for a mandatory 15-day quarantine at a hotel.

Vaccine options for students seeking admission abroad

Foreign universities that have made vaccination compulsory requirement to come back to campus say that they will recognise WHO-approved vaccines. India has currently approved three vaccines for its immunization drive against Covid-19 — Serum Institute-manufactured Covishield, Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin and Russia’s Sputnik but only Covishield has been approved for emergency use by WHO.

What is a vaccine passport

A concept that allows entry of people from other parts of the world, only if they are fully vaccinated. The vaccination status is mentioned in the passport along with the vaccine received.

How students flying abroad can get fully vaccinated on priority

As a part of fresh guidelines for Covid-19 vaccination, the Centre on Monday said those traveling abroad for education or jobs can take the second Covid-19 vaccine dose of Covishield in 28 days and get their vaccination certificate linked to their passport. At present, the schedule of the Covishield vaccine under the 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.

Candidates have to provide proof of their travel to another country for a purpose mentioned by the Centre for priority vaccination in the form of an admission offer letter or other formal communications, letter supporting the person is a student at the university and needs to return to the institution, interview call letter or offer letter for taking employment.

The competent authority will issue a certificate linking the vaccine certificate with the passport number wherever necessary. This facility will be soon made available on the Co-WIN platform.

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