Those aged 12 and older with compromised immunity to be given Pfizer vaccine24 hospitals throughout the country will administer the mRNA shots from November 14.
All immunocompromised people including children above 12 years old will be administered Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.
The Ministry of Health and Population said that the vaccine will be provided from 24 hospitals throughout the country from November 14.
“Children above 12 years old with compromised immunity will also be administered the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine this time,” Sagar Dahal, chief of the National Immunisation Programme, told the Post.
Nepal on Monday received 100,620 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine provided by the United States through COVAX, the international vaccine sharing scheme backed by the United Nations.
This is the fourth vaccine to be used in Nepal.
Nepal has so far used AstraZeneca vaccine manufactured in India, Japan and Europe; Vero Cell vaccine developed by Sinopharm of China; and the single-shot Janssen made by Johnson & Johnson in the United States.
According to Dahal, the vaccine will be administered to people suffering from renal failure, those taking dialysis treatments, people taking medicines after organ transplantation, cancer patients and those suffering from lung diseases.
Likewise, those suffering from high blood pressure and taking medicines, people suffering from diabetes, heart ailments and those with compromised immunity due to various reasons including HIV/AIDS will also get the Pfizer shots.
The vaccine will be administered at Bir Hospital, Army hospital, Civil Hospital, Patan Hospital, Bhaktapur Cancer Hospital, Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital, Shahid Gangalal National Heart Centre and Shahid Dharmabhakta National Transplant Centre Bhaktapur in Kathmandu Valley.
The vaccine will also be administered at BP Koirala Memorial Cancer Hospital in Bharatpur and Dhulikhel Hospital in Kavre, targeting the people of Bagmati Province.
In Province 1, the vaccine will be administered at BP Koirala Institute of Health Sciences, Dharan; Mechi Zonal Hospital, Jhapa; and Koshi Hospital. In Province 2, Gajendra Narayan Singh Hospital, Janakpur Hospital, and Narayani Hospital will administer the vaccine.
In Gandaki Province, the vaccine will be administered at Gandaki Academy of Health Sciences, and Dhaulagiri Hospital in Baglung. In Province 5, the vaccine will be administered at Lumbini Provincial Hospital, Butwal, Rapti Academy of Health Sciences, Dang, and Bheri Hospital, Banke.
In Karnali Province, the vaccine will be administered at Province Hospital, Surkhet, and in Sudurpaschim Province, the vaccine will be administered at Seti Provincial Hospital, Dhangadhi, and Dadeldhura Hospital.
Dahal said that all preparations for rolling out the vaccine have been completed.
Pfizer-BioNTech will be the first mRNA-based Covid-19 vaccine to be used in Nepal. The vaccine developed jointly by the US-based Pfizer and the German firm BioNTech uses a copy of a molecule called messenger RNA (mRNA) to produce an immune response.
It is said that the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was 95 percent effective at preventing laboratory-confirmed infection with the coronavirus.
According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was also highly effective at preventing laboratory-confirmed Covid-19 infection in adolescents between 12-15 years old, and the immune response in these adolescents was at least as strong as the immune response in 16-25-year-olds in clinical trials.
“Evidence shows mRNA Covid-19 vaccines offer similar protection in real-world conditions as they have in clinical trial settings—reducing the risk of Covid-19, including severe illness by 90 percent or more, among people who are fully vaccinated,” the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on its website.
The Health Ministry is also preparing to ask the Cabinet for permission to purchase 6 million doses of Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine.
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 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.
The government has already purchased 10 million doses of the Vero Cell vaccine from China. A deal has been reached with COVAX to purchase 9.9 million doses (5.9 million doses of Vero Cell and 4 million doses of Moderna vaccine) through a cost-sharing mechanism.
As of Tuesday, 6,709,905 people (22.1 percent of the total population) have been fully immunised.
So far, Nepal has received 18,958,210 doses of Vero Cell, AstraZeneca and Johnson and Johnson and pfiZer-BioNTech vaccines.