People above 65, who took the first dose in March, to get the second dose from MondayDecision follows the arrival of AstraZeneca vaccine from Japan, which has pledged 1.6 million doses. Over 500,000 doses were delivered on Saturday.
The Ministry of Health has said people aged 65 and above who took their first shot against Covid-19 will be administered second doses from Monday.
Over 1.4 million people aged 65 and above had taken their first doses of Covishiled, the AstraZeneca type vaccine manufactured by the Serum Institute of India, in the second week of March.
“We will start administering second doses to those over 65 years of age who have taken their first shots from Monday,” said Roshan Pokhrel, secretary for Health.
The decision follows the arrival of AstraZeneca doses from Bhutan and Japan.
On Friday, Bhutan delivered 230,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine under a reciprocity condition, at the request of the government of Nepal. On Saturday, Japan supplied 513,420 doses of AstraZeneca through COVAX, an international vaccine-sharing scheme backed by the United Nations.
This is the first batch of the 1.6 million doses of the vaccine Japan has committed to Nepal.
Dr Samir Kumar Adhikari, joint spokesperson for the Health Ministry, confirmed to the Post that 513,420 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine arrived in Nepal on Saturday morning and that some more doses are expected to arrive on Sunday.
The remaining doses of the vaccine will arrive after a week, according to the Health Ministry.
Nepal so far has received 10,526,270 doses of vaccine from various sources.
Nepal started its vaccination drive in January with the 1 million doses of Covishield gifted by the Indian government. Though the government had signed a deal to buy 2 million more doses, the Serum Institute supplied only half of the order. India had provided 100,000 doses of Covishild under grant for the Nepal Army as well.
After vaccine supply dried up in the wake of a surge of cases in India, Nepal’s vaccination campaign hit a snag. The inoculation campaign resumed after China provided 800,000 doses of Vero Cell, manufactured by Sinopharm, under grant assistance.
In the first week of March, COVAX had supplied 348,000 doses of Covishield.
Nepal so far has used Covishield, Vero Cell and Janssen, developed and manufactured by Johnson & Johnson to inoculate its population against Covid-19.
Of the 5.8 million doses of Vero Cell, 4 million doses Nepal bought from China while 1.8 million doses were provided by the Chinese government under grant assistance.
On July 12, the United States provided 1,534,850 doses of Janssen through the COVAX facility.
The government has unveiled a plan to procure 42 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine by February next year, and inoculate all eligible citizens above 12 years of age before mid-April.
As of Saturday, 4,442,622 people have received their first doses (around 14.8 percent) and 2,359,793 people have been fully vaccinated (7.86 percent).