The government has decided to prioritise citizens below the age of 60 years in the next round of the vaccination drive in Nepal. According to Dr Samir Kumar Adhikari, Deputy Spokesperson of the Ministry of Health and Population (MoHP), the government had been prioritising people above 60 years till date but now the focus will be on citizens below that age.
He, however, mentioned that the ministry is holding discussions at the moment regarding with which age group to start the next vaccination drive. “This will be sorted out within a couple of days and once we have finalised the modality we will make the plan public,” Dr Adhikari informed.
While speaking to NepalNews, Dr Adhikari also mentioned that the government has a target to inoculate at least 72 per cent of the population with the coronavirus vaccine as soon as possible and it has been working on trying to avail as many doses possible and as quickly as possible.
Towards this end, the government has already signed a non-disclosure purchase agreement with Sinopharm to buy the Vero Cell vaccines that the Chinese company produces. The government will be buying 40 lakh doses of Vero Cell vaccines from Sinopharm of which eight lakh doses were delivered on July 9.
Another flight of Nepal Airlines Corporation is scheduled to fly to China on July 15 to bring another lot of the vaccines. The flight will arrive in Kathmandu the next day. Similarly, NAC will operate a wide-body flight to China again on July 22 to bring the next lot of vaccines to Nepal. The concerned flight will arrive at Tribhuvan International Airport on July 23.
Meanwhile, the 1.5 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines to be provided by the US government under the COVAX facility of the United Nations will arrive in Nepal on Monday morning. The vaccines are being delivered from Brussels by Johnson & Johnson, the American pharmaceutical giant.
When asked by when we can expect the government to start administering the vaccines that have already arrived in the country and which will be coming to the country in a few more days, Dr Adhikari said the team responsible for the planning is working on that.
“However, we will be doing that pretty soon because we also have to be aware of the capacity of the storage facilities available in Nepal,” he stated. Dr Adhikari added that since the country will be receiving a substantial number of vaccines within a couple of weeks the vaccines will have to be administered as early as possible so that there are no logistical problems in storing them.
He shared that the final details of the vaccination drive will be made public soon but for the moment the government is planning to vaccinate people below 60 years now and gradually move ahead with various age groups in descending order.