Maharashtra government on October 14 has passed a new notification permitting students under the age of 18 who are unvaccinated to travel in the local trains. This comes after the state government asked schools and colleges in urban areas to reopen classes for 8-12 on October 4, 2021.
Currently, only those who are fully vaccinated are permitted to travel in the Mumbai local trains and that too only 14 days after they receive their second COVID-19 vaccine shot. The age group that is approved to attend schools and colleges is not yet under India's vaccination program.
Once the vaccine for under 18 is launched, students can take the local train without vaccination only for the first 60 days and post that will fall under the rules set for those above 18. They will have to be fully vaccinated and wait for 14 days after their second shot to issue a season monthly pass.
This 60-day figure is not arbitrary but based on the fact that the two vaccines that will be available for this age group require a period of 28 days between the first and the second shot. The Drug Controller General of India has already approved the Zydus DNA vaccine which is a three-shot vaccine for those between 12-18. The drug controller is also in discussions with its expert committee to approve Bharat Biotech's inactivated SARS-CoV-2 virus vaccine- Covaxin for children between the ages of 2-18.
Along with students, the notification also permits any person suffering from an illness and who has been advised by their doctor to not get the COVID-19 vaccine can now take the Mumbai local, too.
Mumbai has been reporting close to 300-600 new cases daily. The government is still wary and is keeping a vigil in place to ensure that the festival season does not lead to a rise in cases in the city.