Government signs non-disclosure deal to buy 8.4 million Pfizer doses for 5-11 year oldsIt also signed an agreement for an $18 million loan with the World Bank Friday for buying the vaccine.
The Ministry of Health and Population informed that it has recently signed a non-disclosure agreement to purchase 8.4 million doses of Pfizer-BioNTech Covid vaccine for children between five and 11 years.
Officials claimed that all preparations regarding the purchase of the vaccine have been completed and they are in the process of finalising the agreement.
“The deal is almost done, we are putting the finishing touches,” Dr Dipendra Raman Singh, director general at the Department of Health Services, told the Post. “We are working to bring the vaccine at the earliest.”
The government has decided to immunise all eligible population against Covid. To purchase Covid vaccines, the government also signed an agreement for a concessional loan of $18 million with the World Bank on Friday.
Singh informed that his department has also sought emergency use authorisation of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for children in Nepal with the Department of Drug Administration.
“We have sought permission for the vaccines to be used on children between five and 11 years,” said Santosh KC, spokesperson for the Department of Health Services. “We are awaiting the drug administration department’s decision.”
There are two types of Pfizer-BioNTech Covid vaccines for children– one is for those between five to 11 years, and another for those aged 12 and above.
The department has already provided emergency use authorisation for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for adults. Nepal has already used Pfizer vaccines on its people—on those with comorbidities and on children between 12 and 17 years.
The American Association of Pediatrics has recommended administering 10 microgram doses in a gap of 21 days to children between five and 11 years. The dose, 0.2ml, is one-third of what is administered to adolescents and adults.
The vaccine vial for children in the said age bracket comes with an orange cap while the other vial is purple-capped.
Each vial with 10 doses needs 1.3 millilitres (ml) of diluent under Pfizer’s preliminary plan. The vaccines can be stored for six months in an ultra-cold freezer or 10 weeks in a normal refrigerator, under Pfizer’s proposal.
The US Food and Drug Administration in October authorised the emergency use of Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine for children between five and 11 years. Several countries have already started administering the vaccine to children of the said age group.
Experts say that vaccination is the only proven intervention to lessen the severity and deaths from Covid-19 infection, now and in future.
Nepal received 664,560 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in December and 100,620 doses in October, donated by the United States through the COVAX facility, a United Nations-backed international vaccine-sharing scheme.
Earlier, the government had planned to purchase 6 million doses of 0.3ml type of Pfizer vaccine for people above 12 years but after sufficient doses of the vaccine arrived from various sources, authorities put the deal on hold and decided to purchase the doses for children between five and 11 years instead.
So far, 17,419,344 people have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19.