Although China has announced to provide COVID-19 vaccine to Nepal, Sinopharm yet to submit necessary documents to govt for emergency approval

Published On: February 3, 2021 06:30 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

The government has already asked the Chinese company to submit the necessary documents including phase III trial data of the vaccine

KATHMANDU, Feb 3: Although China has announced to provide 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.

On Sunday, China announced that it is providing 300,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine to Nepal. However, Sinopharm, the company producing the vaccine, is yet to submit all the documents to the government of Nepal, according to the Department of Drug Administration (DDA).

Without the green signal from the government, the BBIBP-CorV vaccine – developed by Sinopharm – cannot be brought to Nepal.

“The department has asked the company for the necessary documents. We will approve the vaccine for emergency use once all the documents are provided by the company,” said Santosh KC, spokesperson for the DDA.

The department has asked the Chinese company to submit the data of phase III trials of the vaccine at the earliest to get emergency approval.

Sinopharm, a Chinese state-owned company, has said that phase three trials of the vaccine showed that it was 79% effective. Though the vaccine is still in the phase III trial, several countries have already approved the vaccine for emergency use.

The government of Nepal has only approved the ‘Covishield’ vaccine produced by the Serum Institute of India so far. In the first phase of the vaccination drive, the government is inoculating frontline workers with a million doses of ‘Covishield’ vaccine provided by India under grant assistance.

Issuing a statement, the Embassy of China in Kathmandu said, “In order to implement Chinese President Xi Jinping’s solemn commitment that China will make its vaccine a global public good once available, and on the request of the Nepali government, the Chinese government decided to provide the COVID-19 vaccine to Nepal under grant assistance.”

"Despite huge demands for the vaccines both in China domestically and across the world at present, the Chinese government has prioritized Nepal in providing the vaccines, fully demonstrating the great importance it attaches to the China-Nepal friendship," reads the press statement.

According to the Chinese embassy, more than 24 million doses of the vaccine had been administered until January 31.

So far, the vaccine has got licenses for marketing or approval for emergency use in 13 foreign countries including Pakistan, the UAE, Egypt, Hungary, among others.

In the meantime, the Chinese embassy said that it has been coordinating with authorities concerned on the registration of the vaccine for emergency use. “China would like to deliver the vaccine to Nepal at the earliest so as to help Nepal win the battle against the COVID-19 pandemic,” it said in a statement.

As of Tuesday evening, the government has inoculated 128,650 frontline workers from 201 vaccination centers in 77 districts.   


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