KATHMANDU, March 5: The government is to start administering the second dose of the vaccine against COVID-19 to the people who have received the first dose from April 20 to 28.
Joint spokesperson for the Ministry of Health and Population, Dr Samir Kumar Adhikari shared this information at a discussion programme titled 'The science of COVID-19 Vaccine and Vaccination Campaign in Nepal', organized by the ministry here today.
He said preparations have been made for administering the second dose of the vaccine during that period as the second dose vaccine has to be administered after eight weeks of receiving the first dose.
The first dose of the Covishield vaccine was given to health workers, security personnel and journalists working in the frontline as well as the staff of the diplomatic missions from January 27 to February 12.
Around 429,000 persons received the first dose of the vaccine, which comprises 1.4 per cent of the total population.
Dr Adhikari said the government has also forwarded the process of purchasing vaccines with a goal to vaccinate 72 percent of the country's population. The government has initiated the process for procuring additional five million vaccines for this purpose.
Meanwhile, one million out of the two million doses of the Covishield vaccine produced by Serum Institute of India and purchased by Nepal have already arrived. The one million doses of the vaccine are to be administered to people above 55 years of age from March 7.
Dr Adhikari also said that 13 million doses of the vaccine are also arriving under the COVAX mechanism. He expressed the confidence that COVID-19 would also be controlled with the help of the vaccine just like measles-Rubella, smallpox, Japanese Encephalitis were eradicated through vaccination campaigns before this.
National Professional Officer of the World Health Organization (WHO), Nepal, Dr Rahul Pradhan said the Covishield vaccine was effective and appropriate as 58 countries including Nepal have used it. He added that 227.6 million people have been administered this vaccine throughout the world.
Pradhan said that based on various studies, it is found that Covishield vaccine is 71 percent effective if it is given in eight weeks of administering the first dose while it is 81 percent effective if given in 12 weeks from administering the first dose.
He made it clear that there were no side effects of the Covishield vaccine even in those people with serious medical conditions.
According to him, each dollar spent on the vaccine is refunded by 42 dollars.
Highest number vaccinated in the Maldives
Dr Pradhan said that the highest number of people have been vaccinated in the Maldives among the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) member nations.
He said, 22.88 per cent of the total population has been vaccinated in the Maldives, 2.59 per cent of the total population has been vaccinated in Sri Lanka, 2.03 per cent of the total population has been vaccinated in Bangladesh, 1.13 per cent of the total population in India and 0.03 per cent of the total population in Pakistan.