Scotland has decided to expand the national COVID-19 vaccination program to include international students, the Scottish Government has announced.
According to a press release issued by the Scottish government, the move aims to protect international students during their studies in Scotland as well as to prevent any possible further transmission of COVID-19, Erudera.com reports.
Health secretary Humza Yousaf said that the expansion of the national vaccination program will take place conforming with the guidelines from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation for the academic year 2021/22.
“There is a huge amount of work going on to ensure that everyone is able to get vaccinated. This is crucial to the success of the program and our efforts to bring the virus under control,” he said.
While expressing his delight to confirm that international students will be included in the Scottish national vaccination program, Yousaf pointed out that the latest data show that nearly 65,000 international students could be studying in Scotland during the 2021/22 academic year.
Although many students could come from countries where a mature vaccination system has already taken place, and they could be fully or partially vaccinated, Yousaf said that they are currently working with Universities and Colleges Scotland as well as with local health boards to firm up plans for students who have not been vaccinated yet or may need a second dose of vaccine.
“We continue to urge everyone to take up their appointment for a vaccine when it is offered and remember the second dose offers greater and longer protection against the virus,” he added.
Whereas, the Universities Scotland Director Alastair Sim said that international students are a crucial part of Scotland’s university community and as such must get vaccinated against COVID-19 just as other students in the country, adding that Universities Scotland welcomes the government’s clarity regarding international students’ vaccination.
“Vaccination is the best route back to normality. For international students arriving in Scotland over the coming months, it is crucial that they know that they will receive all the help they require to stay safe during these uncertain times. Being eligible for a vaccine is an important part of that sense of security and wellbeing,” Sim said.
Colleges Scotland Chief Executive Shona Struthers also expressed delight over the government’s decision to expand the vaccination program and include international students, claiming that colleges want international students to feel safe and protected while pursuing higher studies in Scotland.