Home / News / India /  Covid-19 vaccine: Nepal receives 1 mn Covishield doses bought from India

Nepal received one million Covid-19 vaccines purchased from India, manufactured by the Serum Institute of India (SII). The Covishield doses arrived at the Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu on Sunday.

The vaccines will be stored at the cold storage unit in Teku, The Himalayan Times reported.

This lot of vaccines would be used to inoculate people above 60 years of age, which is 8.73% of Nepal's population, in the vaccination drive that will begin on March 7.

According to the Nepali Ministry of Health and Population, there are 2,652,258 elderly people above 60 years in the country.

The Government of Nepal on 15 January approved the use of Covishield for emergency use. The country has completed the first phase of Covid-19 vaccination drive with 1,84,857 beneficiaries getting inoculated, the local media reported on 7 February. Frontline workers, including health and sanitation workers, were given priority in inoculations.

Following this, Nepal has begun the second phase of inoculations on 9 February. Dr Shyamraj Uprety, Nepal's Coordinator of the COVID-19 Vaccination Advisory Committee shared that the Covishield vaccine provided by the Indian government under the grant assistance will be administered to as many as 300,000 frontline journalists, diplomats, and government employees in the second phase, a media agency reported.

Earlier in January, India sent 1 million doses of coronavirus vaccines to Nepal after Nepal foreign minister Pradeep Gyawali flew to India to formally request the vaccine. This gift was likely to help repair strained ties between the two neighbours.

Relations between India and Nepal have been strained by a territorial dispute which led to an exchange of strong-worded statements by the two sides.

India, the world's largest vaccine producer, began supplying coronavirus vaccine to its neighbours as it attempts to strike a balance between maintaining enough doses to inoculate its own people and helping developing countries without the capacity to produce their own vaccine.

India’s foreign ministry said it sent 150,000 doses to Bhutan and 100,000 doses to the Maldives in January, and would send more to Bangladesh, Myanmar and the Seychelles.

So far, the country has provided supplies of Covid-19 vaccines to Bhutan, Maldives, Bangladesh, Nepal, Myanmar and Seychelles under grant assistance.

Sri Lanka will purchase 10 million doses of Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine from India, officials have said. In January, under India's neighbourhood first policy, Sri Lanka received 500,000 doses of free vaccines.

Nepal has so far reported 2,73,431 COVID-19 cases and 2,061 fatalities

With inputs from agencies.

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