Preparations underway to vaccinate all age groups within this year
July 28, 2021 11:57 AM NPT
KATHMANDU, July 28: The Ministry of Health and Population (MoHP) has announced plans to continue the vaccination campaign that was halted due to the lack of vaccines for the mass. The announcement has been made after Nepal received vaccines as support from other nations, organizations and through procurement process.
According to Dr Shyam Raj Upreti, coordinator of the Vaccine Advisory Committee of the health ministry, everyone eligible to receive the vaccine will be vaccinated within the current fiscal year. If the plan is not disrupted by any means, 21.7 million people above the age of 18 will be vaccinated within the time period. He said that preparations are underway to vaccinate one third of the population by September and the rest by the end of the current year.
It has been six and a half months since the government started the vaccination campaign. Five percent of the population have already been administered their second doses within a span of six months while 11 percent have already received their first shot.
Nepal received as many as 2.348 million doses of vaccines through aid and procurement processes. Among the two million doses of vaccines bought from Serum Institute of India, one million is expected to arrive in Nepal by mid of August. The late arrival of the vaccines was due to the Indian government’s decision to ban the exports of COVID vaccines following the spread of the second wave of COVID-19 in April.
Earlier, Nepal had received 800,000 doses of Vero Cell vaccines as grant from the Chinese-state owned company, Sinopharm. Later, the Chinese government added one million doses of the vaccine to the grant. The government of Nepal has also purchased four million doses of COVID-19 vaccines from the Chinese company to further boost the vaccination drive inside the country. Apart from this, China has announced to grant 1.6 million doses of vaccine to Nepal.
According to the MoHP, preparations are currently underway to procure six million doses of vaccines from China. Furthermore, the Johnson and Johnson vaccine received as a grant from the US government has helped to boost the vaccination drive even further.
In addition, the COVAX facility co-led by the World Health Organization has announced plans to provide 11.3 million doses of vaccines to Nepal with an aim to vaccinate 20 percent of the country’s total population. So far, 348,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been received from the COVAX facility. Also, the government of Japan has announced to provide 1.6 million doses of Astrazeneca vaccines as a grant to Nepal by September. The vaccines received will help to vaccinate 1.3 million senior citizens and others who have not been administered their second shot of the vaccine for months.
Furthermore, the government of Nepal has made preparations to procure six million doses of Pfizer vaccine from an American company to vaccinate citizens between the age of 12 to 18, MoHP informed Republica. The vaccine has been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration. In order to vaccinate as many as five million people from the desired aged group, 10 million vaccines will be needed. With this, Nepal needs as many as 26.7 million doses of vaccines to vaccinate the 21.7 million people and the other 10 million to vaccinate the age group between the ages of 12 to 18.
“Lack of vaccines is not a problem at the moment but the implementation and management of the vaccines have become a major issue,” Dr Upreti said. It is speculated that 70 to 80 percent of the targeted population are eligible for vaccination. “It is necessary to spread accurate information about vaccination. It will be much easier to manage the vaccination campaign by setting up more vaccination centers,” Dr Upreti added.