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Vaccination not mandatory for students travelling to US, clarifies MEA

Earlier this week, the US had assured that more visa appointments would be granted for Indian students after a rush for interview slots on Monday led to the embassy portal crashing.

Vaccination not mandatory for students travelling to US, clarifies MEA-dnm
New Delhi, First Published Jun 18, 2021, 10:28 AM IST
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India on Thursday clarified that taking a WHO-approved vaccine is not mandatory for US-bound students to pursue higher education.

“There is no uniformity in these requirements... the US government has clarified that vaccination is not a mandatory requirement for travelling to the US for Indian students. I also understand that there are multiple conversations between the students and our universities.

We would obviously support our students. I think everyone concerned is interested in ensuring that the students are able to reach the universities and undertake regular classes and we hope that a constructive solution can be found,” MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said.

The comments pointed out the contradiction between the US government and some of the leading academic institutions that are demanding vaccination before the students are allowed to return to the campuses.

A State Department spokesperson on Thursday said individuals who are not fully vaccinated will have to stay under self-quarantine for a week.

“We remind travellers beginning January 26, all air passengers two years of age or older arriving to the United States must provide proof of a negative Covid-19 test or proof of recovery from Covid-19 before boarding. This order applies to both foreign nationals and US citizens. After arrival, a follow up test is needed within five days,” said the spokesperson.

The issue of lack of uniformity of the US requirement comes from the fact that many of the leading universities and the government are yet to reach a consensus on the matter.

While thousands of students have secured visa appointments for July and August, some American educational institutions are calling for applicants who got the Covaxin or Sputnik V shots to be re-vaccinated as these jabs are not recognised by US authorities.

Covaxin and Covishield are the two main jabs being used in India’s vaccination programme. Covishield, which is the AstraZeneca vaccine made in India, has been granted an emergency use listing by the World Health Organization (WHO), and is accepted under the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) guidelines for entry of foreign travellers.

While ruling out the possibility of India issuing any “vaccine passport” at the present time, Bagchi said global discussions on this issue should be conducted in the context of vaccines being more widely available around the world.

NOTE: Asianet News humbly requests everyone to wear masks, sanitize, maintain social distancing and get vaccinated as soon as eligible. Together we can and will break the chain #ANCares #IndiaFightsCorona

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