India is providing one million doses of Covid-19 vaccine to Nepal under grant assistance, Minister for Health Hridayesh Tripathi said on Wednesday.
“The consignment of the vaccine will arrive in Kathmandu on Thursday,” said Tripathi at a joint press conference organised by the Ministry of Health and the Indian Embassy in Kathmandu.
Indian Ambassador Vinay Mohan Kwatra said that Nepal is among a few countries to receive the vaccine manufactured in India.
The Ministry of External Affairs of India confirmed on Tuesday evening that Nepal is on the list of countries to which it will start supplying the vaccines produced by the Serum Institute of India.
The ministry said that India will supply Covid-19 vaccines to Bhutan, the Maldives, Bangladesh, Myanmar and Seychelles from January 20
The Indian company is producing Covishield, the Covid-19 vaccine developed by University of Oxford and the pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca.
Covishield is the preferred choice of vaccine of Nepali authorities since the existing storage and transportation infrastructure used in the country to immunise babies under 15 months can be utilised. Covishield vaccines have to be stored in 2 to 8 degrees Celsius.
Nepals’ drug regulatory body on Friday granted emergency use approval to Covishield.
“All preparations for launching the vaccination drive have been completed,” said Trpathi. “We will procure additional doses of the vaccine soon.”
The government is planning to inoculate 20 percent (or 6 million) of its population in the first phase to immunise people above the age of 60 in addition to frontline health workers, for which the country will need at least 12 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine.
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