New Delhi: Indian medical students in Ukraine have appealed to the Modi government to ensure that they are vaccinated, ThePrint has learnt.
The BJP Rajya Sabha MP from Uttar Pradesh, Harnath Singh Yadav, told ThePrint that a few of the students hailing from the state had contacted him and expressed fears of contracting Covid-19.
He added that he has brought it to the notice of External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar and the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).
“Many of the students called me up to express fears that they are not getting any vaccine even as other international students are getting vaccinated,” Yadav said. “There are over 10,000 Indian students studying at various medical colleges in Ukraine. They are very scared. I have assured to help them and have written to Health Minister Harsh Vardhan and External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar to help the students in getting the vaccine.”
An MEA official told ThePrint that the matter has been sent to the officials concerned and the Ukraine Embassy in India for further action.
Yadav also told ThePrint that Indian students at the Dnipropetrovsk State Medical Academy and the Ivanovo-Frankivsk National Medical University have already complained to Ukrainian authorities about the lack of vaccines for them.
A student at the Dnipropetrovsk State Medical Academy, who did not want to be named, said, “The vaccination process has started here and other foreign students are getting the vaccine. But we have not been intimated about when the vaccination will start for us.”
“We are scared as we are not in our own country,” he added. “The situation here is not perfect although it is better than last year when there was a crisis for even masks and sanitisers. Our parents have got the vaccine in India and they are scared as well.”
Another student, Rohit Sharma, said they fear a backlash from local authorities if they air their grievances. “Since we live in the hostel, we can’t tweet or air our problems as our consultants get annoyed and we face serious consequences,” he said. “Sometimes they create problems in admissions for the next year. Local authorities also create problems. We only want to highlight the issue of non-availability of vaccines for Indian students.”
India has sent vaccines to Ukraine
India had in February sent Ukraine, its first batch of 5 lakh doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, helping the country kickstart its vaccination process.
The Eastern European nation has also signed an agreement to buy 19 lakh (1.9 million) doses of China’s Sinovac vaccine.
The first batch of the Chinese vaccines have already arrived in the country but Ukraine laboratories are testing it before distributing them to local authorities.
Ukraine has recorded over 19 lakh cases and 39,950 deaths as of 14 April. The country has on an average been registering over 14,000 cases a day and had imposed a strict three-week lockdown starting 20 March in capital Kyiv.
The health ministry in Ukraine has set a target to immunise 3,67,000 people by the end of April and 35 per cent of its 4.1 crore (41 million) total population by the end of the year.
Indian students there, however, have had issues throughout the pandemic. Last year during lockdown, the students had appealed to the Modi government to evacuate them from Ukraine.
Over 600 of these MBBS students from Himachal Pradesh had even launched a hunger strike in Ukraine to highlight the lack of medicines and necessary amenities at the Medical University of Chernivtsi.
(Edited by Arun Prashanth)
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