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Prioritizing vaccination for international students in the UK

Updated: May 14, 2022

Despite the lockdowns, strict travel advisories, and restrictions, Indian undergrad students set to pursue higher education in the UK are highly optimistic about beginning/continuing their courses at the start of the term this fall. The UK government has set an example by approving and initiating a mass vaccination drive before any other country. What’s more commendable is that its highly organized vaccination drive has immunized more than half of the country’s population in a very short period! By ensuring that an unbiased, effective immunization facility is extended to more and more people, the UK has made the community safer for its people and also for the fresh batch of international students arriving this September for the start of the new academic year.

But this year, most universities in the UK are all set to offer much more than a hearty welcome to their international students.

Gratitude and support

Thousands of international students flock to the United Kingdom each year for their higher education helping the country rank consistently higher in popularity and standards. Perhaps for this very reason, the UK’s Minister of State for Universities, Michelle Donelan addressed the international students for maintaining patience during the year of the pandemic, 2020. She expressed gratitude and ensured complete support to students who had to drop a year or take a career detour due to the uncertainties. The country is ready to welcome the batch of 2021 with open arms and a safe, Covid-free community.

Red-list restrictions

The UK has included India in the ‘red list’, which can be explained as the list of countries with the strictest restrictions, even a travel ban into the country. However, those with a student visa can still enter the country as long as they follow the quarantine rules.

According to the UK government guidelines, Indian students entering the UK will have to complete a 10-day hotel quarantine at their own expense.

Free on-campus vaccination

As a very positive step towards ensuring the safety of the community, some universities in the UK have even offered free, WHO-approved, on-campus vaccination for (non-vaccinated) international students. This, of course, would happen after the mandatory quarantine period. The step is being taken to keep the campuses safe for all.

While the UK seems to be more than happy and prepared to host Indian student visa holders, students back home agree that leaving India fully vaccinated is preferable. But is it that easy?

Ideally, students who are supposed to join the UK universities in the fall of 2021, should take their first dose in May and second in July. On one hand, India is also pacing up its vaccination drive to immunize as many people as possible, on the other hand, India-made Covaxin and the Russian Sputnik V are not being accepted abroad. Parents are worried that the unavailability of the vaccine and the mandatory gap between doses can derail the UK dream of their wards.

But things are taking an optimistic turn as the Centre on Monday reduced the gap in Covishield doses for students flying abroad to pursue courses. They can also get their vaccination certificate added to their passport.

While uncertainty is still in the air, and Covid-19 guidelines are changing frequently, nothing can be said for sure. But with cooperation from the Indian and UK governments and universities, we are expecting 2021 to be a great year for students with a dream and plan.

We are Writers Qi, a team of seasoned overseas education and admissions consultants who keep a tab on the developments in this space. Book a consultation with us to make way for a certain future amid uncertainties.

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