Government asks all 753 local units to speed up Covid vaccination80.3 percent of above 18s and 59 percent of 12-17-year-olds have been fully jabbed.
As the government’s self-declared deadline to fully vaccinate all eligible people draws closer, the Ministry of Health and Population on Thursday asked all 753 local units throughout the country to speed up the vaccination pace.
The government in October last year had announced that it would fully inoculate all eligible people by April 13. This means providing two doses of Covid vaccines except for the Janssen vaccine, which requires just one dose.
“We have communicated to all 753 local units today reminding them of the deadline,” said Sagar Dahal, chief of the National Immunisation Programme. “We have also been requesting local governments to organise search and vaccinate campaigns.”
So far, 18,287,657 people or 62.6 percent of the total population have been fully vaccinated against Covid.
According to the Health Ministry’s data, 99 percent of the Gandaki Province’s population above 12 years old have been fully vaccinated. Likewise, 89 percent people in Bagmati Province, 81 percent in Lumbini province, 76 percent in Province 1, and 70 percent people in Sudurpaschim province have been fully vaccinated. The vaccination coverages in Karnali Province and Madhesh province are 66 percent and 65 percent respectively.
“We are in constant touch with local and provincial governments and have been urging them to speed up the pace of vaccination as the deadline is getting closer,” Dr Samir Kumar Adhikari, joint spokesperson for the Health Ministry, said. “Though it is not easy to reach out to the unvaccinated people, we are on track to meet the target.”
Experts say even if the spread of the coronavirus has been declining, authorities concerned should pay attention to vaccinate those who have been deprived of the jabs due to various reasons.
“If we visit communities and talk to people then we might be able to get information on or meet unvaccinated people,” Dr Baburam Marasini , former director at the Epidemiology and Disease Control Division, said. “The risk of infection will not lessen by improving the data only. So we should focus on vaccinating the unvaccinated.
Meanwhile, 112 people across the country tested positive for Covid on Thursday, according to the Health Ministry.
Doctors say that even if the new infection rate has declined significantly of late, there is no certainty that new cases will not surge again as the virus keeps mutating.
The government has been administering booster shots to all eligible people but the uptake has not been encouraging as just 1,532,593 people have taken the booster shots in about two months.
Public health experts say such a lethargic approach to vaccination will not help the authorities avoid another possible outbreak in the coming days.