With schools reopening earlier this month and colleges set to open next week, Mumbai Railways have decided to allow teenagers under 18 years of age to travel by local trains despite them not being vaccinated.
The move comes days after the state government issued an order expanding the definition of fully vaccinated persons to include persons less than 18 years of age and those who have medical conditions which prohibit them from taking the Covid-19 vaccines.
The order issued on October 8 by Chief Secretary Sitaram Kunte stated that “the definition of fully vaccinated person will be, any person having a medical condition that does not allow him or her to take the vaccine, and has a certificate to that extent from a recognised doctor. Also, if a person is of age less than 18 years. (In the future, when vaccine becomes available for this age group, then this will continue for first 60 days of such availability.”
Railway officials said those below 18 years will be eligible for monthly season tickets (MST). An official said those who are unable to take vaccines because of their medical condition can buy the monthly pass after showing a medical certificate.
Ever since schools reopened, there has been a demand from students to be allowed to travel in local trains. On August 8, Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray had announced the reopening of train services from August 15 for people who have been fully vaccinated and completed 14 days after receiving the second dose of an anti-Covid vaccine. Teenagers below 18 years were not eligible due to which attending school became a problem for many of them.
With colleges set to reopen next week, the government has decided to extend the eligibility to include teenagers as well.