Why Are NRIs Looking To Go Back Abroad Flocking To Rishikesh?

As many as 129 NRIs have received Covishield vaccine doses in Rishikesh from July 17, 2021, to this week. According to Rishikesh’s nodal officer for COVID-19 vaccination, demand for the WHO-approved jabs has been shooting up recently. 

Foreign countries are making it mandatory for people travelling there to be vaccinated with two doses of Covishield. Only those who are vaccinated with two doses of this particular vaccine will be granted visas.  

Non-resident Indians (NRIs) going back to the country where they are staying, who need a visa and other documents to be granted, are now demanding the vaccine in the hill town. 

“On an average, 15-20 NRIs come to us every day insisting on getting a Covishield jab,” Santosh Kumar Pant, the nodal officer for Covid vaccination in Rishikesh, was quoted as saying

While waiting to receive a jab at a vaccine centre here, Amar Singh said, “I came back here after the restaurant in Milan (Italy) where I work was closed during the second wave of COVID in March.” 

“Now, the restaurant has reopened, and I have been asked to return, but two doses of Covishield are a precondition,” Singh, whose ancestral home is in the Shyampur area of Rishikesh, said. 

Many foreign countries have cleared the Serum Institute of India’s Covishield, including Austria, Germany, Slovenia, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Spain, Estonia and Switzerland. This was reported amid an ongoing row over vaccines accepted for a “green pass” allowing free travel in the region.  

So far, only four vaccines have been approved by the EU’s top medical body, the European Medicines Agency (EMA). The four approved vaccines include Pfizer-BioNTech’s Comirnaty, US pharma giant Moderna’s Covid vaccine, AstraZeneca shot manufactured and sold in Europe as Vaxzervria, and Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen. Vaccination passports are granted only to those who have received these shots. Also, these passport holders are allowed to travel amid the pandemic without any hassle.  

The EMA list contains neither Covaxin nor Covishield. Bharat Biotech manufactures Covaxin, and Covishield is manufactured in India by the world’s largest manufacturer Serum Institute of India, in partnership with Oxford University and AstraZeneca. 

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