The government is set to receive 100,000 doses of Pfizer–BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to be delivered under the COVAX sharing scheme for poorer countries. The United Nations' COVAX scheme targets to inoculate 20 per cent of the country's population. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has approved six different COVID-19 vaccines — Pfizer–BioNTech, Oxford–AstraZeneca, Moderna, Sinopharm, Sinovac and Janssen — as of June 2021.
Krishna Prasad Poudel, Epidemiology and Disease Control Division Director and Spokesperson at the Ministry of Health and Population (MoHP) told NepalNews that the authorities concerned have been making preparations for the storage of Pfizer–BioNTech vaccine that requires relatively cold temperature. Poudel said that the vaccine is authorised for use in people aged 12 years and older while in some jurisdictions people aged 16 years and older are allowed to use the vaccine that provides protection against COVID-19.
Public Health Administrator at the MoHP, Upendra Dhungana, told NepalNews that the vaccine to be delivered under the COVAX scheme will arrive in the country between September and October. Dhungana informed that the government has also taken initiative to purchase the messenger RNA (mRNA)-based Pfizer–BioNTech vaccine developed by the German biotechnology company BioNTech. "It will take some time to receive the vaccine as the preparation for its storage facility has yet to be completed," Dhungana said and added that the freezing system needed for the vaccines will be set up at the central storage in Teku. "Further, the authorities have also been preparing to provide guidelines and training to the health workers engaged in administering COVID-19 vaccines," he said.
Until now, Nepal has received a total of 3.4 million doses of AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccines delivered under the COVAX scheme. Last time Nepal which has a population of around 2.9 million received 1.6 million doses of the vaccine under the scheme backed by the World Health Organisation, on August 23.
MoHP Spokesperson Poudel said that the government would make a priority list for administering the Pfizer–BioNTech vaccine targeting the groups of people aged 12 years and above.