KATHMANDU, Feb 6: Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi has pledged to provide 500,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines to Nepal on a grant basis.
During a telephonic conversation with his Nepali counterpart Pradeep Gyawali on Friday evening, Minister Wang also assured that China would accord priority to Nepal in vaccine cooperation.
According to a press statement issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs(MoFA), the telephone conversation between Gywali and Wang focused on holding discussions on matters of mutual interests. On the occasion, Minister Gyawali thanked the Chinese government for the support of the COVID-19 vaccine and appreciated China’s stance to make it global public goods.
Earlier on Sunday, the Embassy of China in Kathmandu said China would provide 300,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine that is expected to benefit 150,000 Nepali people. During the telephonic conversation between the two foreign ministers, China has increased the grant assistance of COVID-19 vaccines to 500,000 doses.
After a two-dose inoculation procedure, the Chinese vaccine has shown 79.34% efficacy against COVID-19, and the seroconversion rate of neutralizing antibodies has reached as high as 99.52%. The safety and effectiveness of the vaccine have surpassed the marketing standards of the World Health Organization, and received wide recognition by other countries, according to a press statement issued by the Embassy of China in Kathmandu.
Although China has announced to provide the COVID-19 vaccine to Nepal under grant assistance, the Chinese company producing the vaccine is yet to submit all necessary documents to the government of Nepal. Without the green signal from the government, the BIBP-CorV vaccine – developed by Sinopharm – cannot be brought to Nepal.
On January 20, the Indian government provided a grant of 1 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines to Nepal. The vaccine is currently being administered to frontline health workers, employees, and security personnel. The Indian assistance came a week after Nepal gave conditional approval to use Serum India Institute's AstraZeneca Covishield against the COVID-19.