KATHMANDU, Jan 20: Nepal is all set to receive COVID-19 vaccine from its neighboring country, India, within a few days, according to the Family Welfare Division under the Department of Health Service.
The Ministry of Health and Population and Indian Embassy in Kathmandu are expected to make a formal announcement today on India providing Covid-19 vaccines to Nepal under grant assistance.
Earlier on Friday, the government granted conditional approval to AstraZeneca’s Covishield vaccine for the emergency use against the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
“The vaccine is expected to arrive within days and we will start distribution immediately”, said Dr Taranath Pokrel, chief of the division.
The government will announce dates for vaccination once the vaccine arrives in the country.
So far, the government has made preparations for the procurement of vaccines along with training for health workers.
The government is planning to vaccinate frontline health workers, security personnel and government employees in the first phase.
India has committed to supply COVID-19 vaccine for free to its neighboring countries including Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh. Issuing a press statement on Tuesday evening, India’s External Affairs Ministry confirmed that the Indian government is providing COVID-19 vaccine to neighboring countries including Nepal. “The Government of India has received several requests for the supply of Indian manufactured vaccines from neighbouring and key partner countries. In response to these requests, and in keeping with India’s stated commitment to use India’s vaccine production and delivery capacity to help all of humanity fight the Covid pandemic, supplies under grant assistance to Bhutan, Maldives, Bangladesh, Nepal, Myanmar and Seychelles will begin from 20 January 2021. In respect of Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and Mauritius, we are awaiting their confirmation of necessary regulatory clearances,” read the press statement.
India has already rolled out the world's largest vaccine campaign last week.
Meanwhile, severe side effects of Serum India Institute's Covishield are being reported despite approval of the World Health Organization. India’s vaccine developers have warned people with weaker immunity and other medical conditions that include allergies, fever, or a bleeding disorder to consult a doctor before getting the shot — and if possible avoid the vaccine.