More than a week later, the immunisation division of the union health ministry responded to the memorandum and declined the request, stating that only those eligible as per the Centre’s guidelines would be able to avail the vaccine at government or privately-run institutions.

“The decisions on the category to be prioritised for Covid-19 vaccination are made by the National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for Covid-19 which is based on scientific evidence, principles of equity, WHO guidelines as well as examples from other countries,” stated the letter that was signed by Dr Veena Dhawan, joint commissioner in the immunisation department.


Students vaccinated in IIT Gujarat

In absence of any orders or response from the Union health ministry regarding vaccinating students and faculty, the Indian Institute of Technology in Gandhinagar, Gujarat, went ahead and vaccinated over 900 students, despite being below 45 years.

The drive was conducted from March 30 till April 2, and at least 940 students and 250 faculty members were vaccinated with Covishield. Even those students living outside of the campus were vaccinated.

It is unclear how IIT Gandhinagar was able to bypass the Centre’s guidelines and vaccinate its students, a majority of whom are not even 25 years old.

India is currently in the midst of a massive surge in coronavirus infections. The second wave has coincided with the country’s vaccination drive. So far, more than eight crore doses have been administered across the country.

But at least seven states, including Odisha, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, have complained of vaccine shortages, and have closed down multiple vaccination centres after running out of the shots. The union health minister, in turn, has accused state governments of making “deplorable attempts” to spread panic.

This post first appeared on We welcome your comments at

📬 Sign up for the Daily Brief

Our free, fast, and fun briefing on the global economy, delivered every weekday morning.