The Bhubaneswar Municipal has enlisted 83 foreign-bound students in the special COVID-19 vaccination drive during which the students in the age group of 18-44 years can walk in at designated centres and get themselves inoculated free of cost, an official said. Of them, 19 have already been administered both doses of Covishield vaccine at two designated centres here, an official said.
The others will be covered within a day or two, he said. The civic body has also set up vaccination centres for the foreign-bound students at PN College, Khurda and CMC Kalyan Mandap, Gopalpur, Cuttack.
Though the Temple City is administering Covaxin to its citizens, a special arrangement has been made to make available Covishield vaccine for the students going to foreign universities for higher studies. The students will have to produce their admission letters from their respective universities, a valid ID proof for the vaccination process, the official said.
The students were advised to make their requests through 1929, 24X7 Call Centre at the Bhubaneswar Operations Centre (BOC). Authorities of Bhubaneswar Smart City Limited inside the BOC have designated a special desk for document verification and listing of the students, who had applied for getting the jab, before leaving the country for higher studies.
Debashish Dash of Kalinga Vihar, Patrapada, who is planning to join theInternational School of Medicine (ISM) at Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, took the Covishield vaccination at PN College, Khurda on Friday. “The BMC has provided a wonderful opportunity to students like us and it is of great help,” Dash said.
Shawan Kumar of the Khandagiri area in the city, who plans to join Siberian State Medical University at Tomsk city, is relieved after receiving his Covishield jab. “I was afflicted with coronavirus recently and after recovering from the infection, I was worried about vaccination as my admission date was also approaching. However, the BMCs special arrangement for the students has come as a breather and now I will be confidently travelling to Siberia for my studies,” Kumar said.
Rishav Chand, a resident of Saheed Nagar who wants to go to Saskatoon, a city in Canada, on a work permit visa after studying at the University of Saskatoon said, “the initiative is extremely useful for students as the vaccination will be a confidence-building measure before stepping into foreign soil.” Suchismita Mohapatra who lives near SUM Hospital and is planning to join Kharkiv National Medical University at Kharkiv, the second biggest city in Ukraine, is happy as she has received her first dose of Covishield. “I booked my slot through 1929 Call Centre and am grateful to the authorities for doing all the needful in a short time. Its a very constructive step as it would help many students going abroad,” she added.
Urmila Pradhan of Unit 4 Postal Colony, a third-year student of Vinnytsia National Medical University in Ukraine, said, “I came home during COVID after completing my second year. I was under great stress to take the vaccine before leaving for the university. Now I am happy that I can go and join my class after having received both doses of the vaccine.”