Nepal receives 1.02 million doses of Vero Cell vaccine bought through COVAXThe consignment is part of over 5.9 million doses of vaccine bought with a loan provided by Asian Development Bank.
Nepal on Wednesday received 1.02 million doses of Vero Cell vaccine purchased through COVAX’s cost-sharing mechanism.
The vaccine is part of over 5.9 million Covid-19 vaccine doses the country has purchased using a loan from the Asian Development Bank.
Upendra Dhungana, chief of the Logistics Management Section under the Department of Health Services, confirmed the delivery of the vaccine.
COVAX, the international vaccine sharing scheme backed by the United Nations, has committed to providing over 1.3 million doses, sufficient for 20 percent of Nepal’s 30 million population.
The facility also helps countries like Nepal procure Covid-19 jabs through a cost-sharing arrangement, meaning the country has to pay COVAX the price COVAX paid to the manufacturing company.
“We took a loan from the Asian Development Bank to purchase these doses,” said Dhungana. “We expect the remaining doses to be delivered within December.”
Nepal has signed a concessional loan agreement with multilateral funding agencies like the Asian Development Bank and the World Bank to support Nepal’s resilient recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.
In August, the Asian Development Bank and the Nepal government signed a $165 million (nearly Rs20 billion) loan agreement to purchase safe and effective vaccines against Covid-19.
Nepal and the World Bank also signed a $150 million (Rs17.78 billion) concessional loan agreement in June.
In August, Nepal became the second country globally to have completed agreements with GAVI to procure 4 million doses of the Moderna vaccine with financing by the World Bank, under the COVAX’s cost-sharing arrangement.
The government has also been preparing to purchase 6 million doses of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine using the World Bank loan.
Apart from the vaccine the country purchased through the cost-sharing scheme, officials said that they expect delivery of the jabs to be provided by the northern neighbour under its grant assistance.
China has pledged to provide 1.6 million doses of Vero Cell, another 2 million doses of vaccine [brand name unspecified] and 1 million doses of Sinovac vaccine separately.
“We expect that the vaccine pledged by China will arrive within the first week of November,” said Dhungana.
Nepal needs to vaccinate around 78 percent of its 30 million population—or around 25 million people—as per the government’s new plan that includes vaccinating all those aged between 12 and 18 years. The government earlier had planned to vaccinate only those aged 15 years and above.
Since around 4-5 million people are said to be living abroad, the government needs to vaccinate around 19-20 million people. For this, the country needs a little over 40 million doses of double-shot vaccines.
Nepal has so far used AstraZeneca vaccine manufactured in India, Japan and Europe; Vero Cell vaccine developed by Sinopharm of China; the single-shot Janssen made by Johnson & Johnson in the United States, and Pfizer-BioNTech jointly developed by the firms based in Germany and the United States.
Nepal received 100,620 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine from the United States through COVAX on Monday.
Nepal started its campaign to vaccinate its citizens against Covid-19 on January 27 with the 1 million doses of Covishield, the AstraZeneca type vaccine manufactured by the Serum Institute of India.
The COVAX facility has supplied 3,598,110 doses of vaccine (1,534,850 doses of single-shot Janssen, 1,614,740 doses of AstraZeneca, 348,000 doses of Covishield from AstraZeneca and 100,602 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine).
The country had earlier purchased 10 million doses of Vero Cell vaccine from the Chinese vaccine manufacturing company, Sinopharm, through a non-disclosure agreement.
Apart from this, the country also purchased 2 million doses of Covishield, the AstraZeneca type vaccine manufactured by the Serum Institute of India.
China has provided 1.8 million doses of Vero Cell vaccine under grant assistance,
India gave 1.1 million doses of Covishield vaccine, Bhutan supplied 230,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine and the United Kingdom provided 130,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine.
The vaccines donated by Japan and the United States were provided through the COVAX.
Altogether, the country has received 19,978,210 doses of Vero Cell, AstraZeneca, Janssen and pfiZer-BioNTech vaccines.
As of Wednesday, 6,770,154 people (22.3 percent of the total population) have been fully vaccinated, according to the Health Ministry.