Japan to donate 1.6 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine to Nepal through COVAXThis could come as a respite for around 1.4 million people aged 65 and above who have been waiting for their second shots after taking the first dose in March.
On the heels of the arrival of 1.5 million doses of Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine from the United States on Monday through the COVAX facility, another 1.6 million doses of AstraZeneca are set to arrive from Japan under the same facility.
“The government of Japan donates about 1.6 million doses of Japanese-made COVID-19 AstraZeneca vaccine for Nepal as a grant through the COVAX facility, which was officially announced today by Motegi Toshimitsu, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan,” the Japanese Embassy in Kathmandu said in a press release on Tuesday.
According to the release, the exact shipping schedule will be confirmed once the procurement arrangement is finalised by COVAX.
The Japanese Foreign Ministry announced the donation of 11 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine to 14 Asian countries, including Bangladesh, Cambodia, Iran, Laos and Sri Lanka, on Tuesday, Nepali officials familiar with the Japanese announcement told the Post.
Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan Motegi Toshimitsu made the announcement during a regular press briefing in Tokyo on Tuesday.
Japan will ship 1 million doses each to Indonesia, Taiwan and Vietnam on Thursday as part of bilateral deals with those governments, news agency Reuters reported.
The news comes as a relief to around 1.4 million Nepalis above the age of 65 who have been waiting for their second dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine after taking the first dose between March 7 and 15.
Serum Institute of India could not supply the 1 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, which it markets under the brand name Covishield, after the Indian government restricted their export as the second wave hit India. Only 1 million of the two million doses that Nepal paid for were delivered.
According to the Ministry of Health and Population, 2,611,807 Nepalis have been given Covid-19 vaccines of whom 1,079,192 have been fully vaccinated with two doses.