Pondy University students initially denied vaccination for being non-residents, despite registering on CoWIN

The Directorate order states non-residents even if registered online, are not eligible for vaccination. PU students have written to their VC asking to intervene in this matter
Image for representation | Pic: Express
Image for representation | Pic: Express

Once you get a vaccine appointment, most people think that the hardest part is done. But not for the students of Pondicherry University who went to get their shots on Thursday. "Our slot was from 9-11 am and we registered on CoWIN before coming here, but the medical supervisor wasn't allowing us to get the vaccine," Abhinab Borah, a postgraduate student at Pondicherry University tells us.

The Directorate of Health and Family Welfare, Government of Puducherry began COVID-19 vaccination for the age group 18-44 years on Thursday, but there's a catch - only permanent residents of the union territory can avail of the vaccination from selected government facilities. The order clearly states that "Non-residents even if registered online, are not eligible for vaccination."

So, what do students like Abhinab, who are away from homes and are stuck at the varsity hostel, do?
"The medical staff here was ready to give us the jab but the medical supervisor clearly denied permission. We are waiting here since morning trying to convince them, there are six of us from PU. We also tried calling the directorate, they are also saying no to us. We have been stuck at the campus due to lockdown norms across states. And this is not fair. The central government in its guidelines clearly stated citizens can be inoculated anywhere in the country and you do not have to necessarily be a resident there," adds Abhinab.

The students were finally given the vaccine by the doctors at the centre but this appeared to be a special allowance made towards them. Whether it will hold good for all other students from other states remains to be seen. "We got the vaccine after five hours of wait but this might not be the case for students coming in tomorrow. This issue needs to be resolved by the government and we are still awaiting responses," says Abhinab.

READ ALSO: After students, staff request VC for help, Pondicherry University to set up COVID care centres on campus

The Pondicherry University Students' Council has already written to the Chief Minister and Lieutenant Governor and their Vice-Chancellor to look into the matter and allow students to get the jab immediately.

P Parichay Yadav, PUSC president says, "A lot of students stayed back on campus due to lockdown, research scholars as they had to continue with their research, the varsity had even called a few students back to campus some time ago when the situation was better. They have registered for the vaccine already and now they aren't eligible. It has become a major issue facing these students. VC has responded yet neither has the UT government, so we are still waiting. This is also contradictory to what the central government has said, be it the first or the second dose, you are eligible to get it anywhere. Most of the students had their slots today, but they have been denied permission. This is a life and death situation right now, even the government emphasises on getting the jab as it acts as a shield against the Coronavirus. We will wait for the authorities' response and see what else can be done." 

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