Published: 27th November 2021
Students wanting to study abroad in a fix as India's vaccines remain unrecognised in some countries
Many fear that the new variant possibly evades existing vaccines. While vaccine makers have said that the vaccines can be tweaked to fight the 'Omicron', it will take months for them to develop it
A student accepted for a programme in Austria learnt to his dismay that although he can enter that country, he cannot use the Indian certificate for the Covishield vaccine to visit restaurants and gyms.
Austria’s travel advisory specifically states that Covishield, Sinopharm and Sinovac vaccines are accepted for people to enter the country but these jabs “are not accepted for entering any type of accommodation, restaurants, bars, nightclubs, leisure centres, gyms, cultural institutions, on cable cars/ski lifts and for body-related services.”
“Austria considers you fully vaccinated only if you have two shots of recognised vaccines. Even after I get the first shot, I may have to get RT-PCR test report till I get the second shot,” the student told The Hindu. The positive side, according to him, is the easy access to vaccines in that country.
Another student who recently landed in Taipei is on 21-day quarantine. Just days before she left India, the Taiwan government amended its rules. When she applied for visa, she was informed that on arrival she would be quarantined for 21 days, including seven days of self-quarantine. As Taiwan had put India on red alert zone, the government would bear the expenses of the first 14 days of quarantine, she was told.
But just a few days before she left on November 9, Taiwan revised its rules. She had to quickly arrange Rs 80,000 — on being informed that as India’s status had improved — as she would have to pay for the quarantine.
“I do not understand the idea of self-quarantine, which is in a different hotel from the mandatory quarantine. In the hotel I am allowed to go out to malls and restaurants and have food but I cannot enter campuses or government offices. I could have self-quarantined in my hostel,” she reportedly said.
With the university stipend due only from the third month of joining the course, she felt the pinch. “A person can manage for one month but for two months it is a huge burden. A lot of my savings went to preparing the documents,” she reportedly said.
Easy passage to US
But students travelling to the US have it easy. Kala Vijayakumar, chairman of SSN Group of Institutions, said that a student who had tested positive for COVID-19 had to join Carnegie Mellon University within 100 days of his infection.
“He was required to produce only the doctor’s certificate for this and the RT-PCR test negative report. He was even allowed to register for his vaccination in the US before leaving India,” Vijayakumar added.