2 million jabs may arrive from India by October first weekOfficials say India will grant an additional 1 million doses of Covishield.
India is likely to deliver to Nepal two million doses of the Covishield vaccine manufactured by the Serum Institute of India by October first week.
Although, final date of the vaccine delivery is not yet fixed, officials at the Ministry of Health and Population said that the vaccine will arrive by the said period.
“We have been expecting two million doses of the Covishield vaccine from India soon,” a senior official at the Ministry for Health and Population, told the Post. “Of the two million doses, 1 million doses will be grants from the Indian government.”
The remaining 1 million doses is part of the 2 million doses of the vaccine for which the government had paid Serum in February. The government had purchased 2 million doses of the Covishield vaccine developed by the University of Oxford and Swedish pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca, with the Serum institute of India, paying $4 per dose in advance.
Serum supplied 1 million doses of the vaccine on February 21 and had assured to deliver the remaining 1 million doses within 10 days. But after the second wave of infections hit India worst, authorities there restricted the export of the vaccine affecting the deliveries to Nepal.
India on Monday announced that it would resume exports of Covid-19 vaccines in October to COVAX, the international vaccine-sharing scheme backed by the United Nations, and to neighbouring countries.
“India will resume exports of Covid-19 vaccines in the October quarter, prioritising the global vaccine-sharing platform COVAX and neighbouring countries first as supplies rise,” Reuters reported quoting the health minister of India.
Nepal has so far used AstraZeneca vaccine manufactured in India, Japan and Europe; Vero Cell vaccine developed by Sinopharm of China; and single shot Janssen vaccine made by Johnson & Johnson in the United States of America.
“The final date of delivery is not confirmed yet, but we have been expecting 2 million doses of Covishield soon,” Dr Roshan Pokhrel, secretary at the Ministry of Health and Population, told the Post.
Meanwhile, the Chinese Red Cross on Friday provided 100,000 doses of the Vero Cell vaccine to the Nepal Red Cross, which was delivered to the government.
“Yes we have received 100,000 doses on Friday from the Nepal Red Cross, which received the jabs from the Chinese Red Cross,” Upendra Dhungana, Chief of the Logistic Management Section Under the Department of Health Services, told the Post.
The Ministry of Health and Population said that it aims to vaccinate at least 33 percent of the population by Dashain, in the next two weeks.
Nepal so far has received a total of 17,855,590 doses of Covid-19 vaccines. Of them, 4,422,740 doses were AstraZeneca type, 11,900,000 doses were Vero Cell, and 1,534,850 doses were the Janssen vaccine produced by Johnson & Johnson.
Of the 4,422,740 doses of the AstraZeneca type vaccine, 2,448,000 were Covishield, manufactured in India. India had provided 1.1 million doses to Nepal under grant assistance.
Besides this, Covax had supplied 348,000 doses of the Covishield vaccine.
Bhutan supplied 230,000 doses, Japan provided 1,614,740 doses and the United Kingdom 130,000 doses of the AstraZeneca type vaccine to Nepal.
China has so far supplied 11,900,000 doses of the Vero Cell vaccine.
Apart from this, the United States had supplied 1,534,850 doses of the single-shot Janssen vaccine.
The government has already paid for 4 million doses of Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine through the World Bank to the US manufacturer, and delivery is expected by mid-February.
So far, 6,528,392 people (over 21.7 percent) have taken the first dose of the vaccine and 6,014,941 people (over 20 percent) have been fully vaccinated.
Dhungana said the government is expecting over 100,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine soon from COVAX, a UN-backed vaccine-sharing scheme.
COVAX has committed around 13 million doses, which will be sufficient to vaccinate 20 percent of the Nepali population.
So far, the facility has supplied 3,497,490 doses, which include 1,534,850 doses of single-shot Johnson and Johnson vaccine, 1,614,740 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine, and 348,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine manufactured in the brand name Covishield.