Nepal on Tuesday received a consignment of 800,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines from China on grant basis as per the commitment made during talks between Presidents of the two nations.
“As conveyed by Xi Jinping, President of the People’s Republic of China, during the telephone conversation with President Bidya Devi Bhandari on May 26, 2021, a consignment of 800,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine arrived in Kathmandu today,” Nepal’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated in a release.
China on May 26, announced a grant of 1 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines for Nepal. Of the one million doses of China-made vaccines, which were earlier announced to be provided on grants, 800,000 doses arrived at Tribhuwan International Airport on Tuesday.
Earlier, a chartered cargo of Nepal Airlines aircraft flew to China on Monday to bring COVID-19 vaccines provided by China on grant to Nepal.
“The remaining two hundred thousand doses of the vaccine are being provided to Nepal by the Government of the Tibet Autonomous Region of China. Accordingly, 50,400 doses of the vaccine and syringes have been handed over to the officials of the Ministry of Health and Population this morning, and another batch of 50,400 vaccines and syringes is scheduled to arrive in Kathmandu this evening. The consignment of remaining 99,200 vaccines and syringes will arrive in Kathmandu tomorrow,” the ministry added.
With the arrival of China manufactured vaccine, Nepal is set to start inoculation drive from June 8 targeting the elderly populations of the Himalayan Nation.
Dr Jhalak Gautam, chief of the vaccination branch under the Department of Health Services, informed that the meeting held on Tuesday decided to start the vaccination campaign from June 8.
“A meeting held at the Ministry of Health Tuesday decided to administer China-donated vaccines from June 8. The meeting also decided to vaccinate people in the age group of 60 to 64 years,” Gautam said in a telephonic conversation with ANI.
The Department of Health Services is preparing to dispatch vaccines to all districts following the arrival of one million doses of the vaccine and the decision of running the vaccination drive throughout the country. In mountainous districts, everyone above 18 years of age will be vaccinated given the availability of vaccines, Gautam informed.
Earlier, vaccination had been done in certain parts of the country. This time around the government has decided to expand the campaign across the country.
Chinese vaccines costs are double than the Oxford-AstraZeneca shot developed by Serum Institute of India.
Moreover, Brazil study involving roughly 13,000 people had earlier found the Chinese shot to be just 50.38 per cent effective against symptomatic infections – barely crossing the WHO’s 50 per cent standard and way lower than other vaccines in the world.
Brazil recently stopped production of Sinovac vaccine as Beijing is reportedly not sending ingredients due to “diplomatic ill-will” over criticism of China.