KATHMANDU: One million doses of COVID-19 vaccine purchased by the government of Nepal has reached Kathmandu on Sunday. The covishield vaccine purchased from the Serum Institute of India was brought from Air India flight.
The government has already sent money to purchase two million doses of vaccine from the Serum Institute. It was agreed to provide the remaining 1 million vaccines at the time demanded by Nepal, says Department Health Services.
Earlier, the vaccination campaign was started in Nepal on January 27 with the one million doses of covishield vaccine provided by Indian government as grant. The campaign will continue after the additional one million doses of vaccine purchased now become available and the government will reach out to the community and vaccinate the citizens.
The vaccines available in the grant were initially given to frontliners including health workers, cleaners, ambulance drivers, among others. It was then given to journalists and staff of diplomatic missions. Currently, the vaccine is being administered by the employees of banks and financial institutions, employees of the Department of Survey and District Administration Offices. Out of the one million vaccines received in the grant, 402,000 people have been vaccinated till Saturday evening.
Now, the Ministry of Health is preparing to vaccinate senior citizens, teachers and public transport employees above 60 years of age from March 7. The cabinet meeting had decided to vaccinate citizens above 55 years of age in the second phase. The ministry is now preparing to involve only those above 60 years of age in the vaccination campaign.
The ministry plans to vaccinate about 2.7 million senior citizens. There may be some fluctuations in this figure, said Dr. Sameer Adhikari.
COVAX is also providing 2.2 million doses of vaccines to Nepal, and it will be arriving soon.