Reasons to be cheerful - international students and vaccines

Student smiling and walking outside campus

Reasons to be cheerful - international students and vaccines

There is good news at last for international students travelling to the major anglophone study destinations of the UK, USA and Australia. After a year in which the COVID-19 pandemic has kept students at home studying online, the world has reason for optimism in the form of effective vaccines.

In further good news, the most popular university destination countries have recognised that any effective vaccine rollout programme must involve making the vaccine available to all adults, regardless of nationality. Government ministers and universities have made it clear that this includes international students.

So here is the state of play by country:

United Kingdom

  • More than a third of people in the UK have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine - part of the biggest inoculation programme the country has ever launched.
  • If you are an international student in full-time education in the UK then, so long as you have paid the immigration and health surcharge and have a valid student visa, you are entitled to free NHS medical care. This includes the vaccination for COVID-19.
  • Regulations have also been passed by the UK government, which enable everyone to get tested and treated for Coronavirus, free of charge, regardless of their visa status.
  • All of the adult population is expected to be offered vaccination by the end of July target announced by Prime-Minister Boris Johnson.


  • More than 100 million people in the USA have received their first coronavirus vaccine.
  • President Joe Biden has promised that all adults in America will be eligible for a vaccine by the beginning of May.
  • The vaccine rollout is being administered at a State level but typically the vaccine is available free for everyone, including international students.
  • Chief Medical Advisor to the American President Dr. Anthony Fauci says everyone in America who wants the vaccine will be able to receive one.


  • While border reopening for students remains unclear, international students living in Australia will be eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
  • The Australian Health Minister Greg Hunt comments: “We need to make sure that everybody who’s on Australian soil is safe... the government will provide COVID-19 vaccinations free to all visa holders in Australia.”
  • The Australian government says, “We look forward to welcoming international students in a COVIDSafe way when it is safe to do so. A range of factors, including vaccination status, will be considered for international arrivals to ensure protection of international students and the Australian community.”
  • It is estimated the Australian vaccination programme will be completed for all adults by the autumn.