Nepal receives 345,600 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech’s bivalent Covid-19 vaccineThe health ministry has asked the provincial health agencies to demand vaccine doses to be administered as booster and second booster shots.
Nepal on Monday received 345,600 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech’s bivalent Covid vaccine from COVAX.
The consignment is part of 1.5 million doses demanded by the Ministry of Health and Population with the United Nations-backed international vaccine sharing scheme for use as booster and second booster shots.
“We have requested provincial health agencies to demand the vaccine doses they need,” said Dr Surendra Chaurasia, chief of the Logistic Management Section at the Family Welfare Division under the Department of Health Services. “Vaccine doses will be supplied as demanded by provinces, which will subsequently distribute them to districts and local units.”
Pfizer-BioNTech’s is the only bivalent jab that has got an emergency use approval from the drug advisory committee in Nepal.
The bivalent Covid vaccine includes a component of the original virus strain as well as a part of the Omicron variant to provide a broad protection against Covid.
The vaccine is called bivalent Covid-19 shot as it contains two components—original virus strain and Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 sub-variants. Doctors say a bivalent Covid-19 vaccine may also be referred to as an “updated” Covid-19 vaccine booster dose.
Health ministry officials said that the bivalent vaccines are part of the 9.2 million doses promised to Nepal by COVAX, the United Nations-backed international vaccine-sharing scheme. The facility has supplied over three million doses so far.
According to Chaurasia, the Covax facility will supply 345,600 doses of the Covid vaccine on February 16, 20 and 23, in each lot.
“Remaining doses will be delivered on February 27,” said Chaurasia. “We will store the vaccine doses in minus 80 degree Celsius and supply them to districts for administration.” The vaccine doses can be stored in two to eight degree Celsius for 30 days only.
Most of the vaccine storages throughout the country can store doses in two to eight degree Celsius.
Nepal so far has used Covid-19 vaccines developed by the University of Oxford and the pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca, manufactured in various countries of Europe, India and Japan, the Chinese Vero Cell, and the US-made Janssen, Moderna, and Pfizer-BioNTech.
So far, 12,020 Covid-related deaths have been reported in Nepal, according to the official count. The health ministry said as many as 22,324,933 people, or 76.5 percent of the total population, have been fully vaccinated.