For nearly a month, almost the whole country has been put on lockdown. While the numbers are decreasing, experts believe that the cases and deaths could have been averted if Nepal had been more proactive in getting vaccines.
The country has vaccinated some of its citizens, but the majority of them have been restricted to the capital, Kathmandu. As of May 29, Nepal had administered 2.7 million doses of Covid-19 vaccinations, placing it 51st in the world. People have been warning the administration that if there is no vaccination by the time KP Sharma Oli dissolves the House of Representatives and calls for an election in November, they will not vote.
However, despite Prime Minister Oli’s assurance that the vaccines will be ready before the elections, the government has failed to secure their availability. However, the public wants them as soon as possible; despite their initial skepticism, individuals have realized that obtaining the shot will help them deal with the illness.
Many people have questioned why this is the case, despite the fact that Nepal was one of the first few Asian countries to launch a vaccination campaign. We will do our best to address this and any other questions you may have concerning the Covid-19 vaccination effort in Nepal.
1. How many vaccines were brought to Nepal? Was it all aid or also purchased by the government?
So far, only China has vowed to provide vaccines to Nepal, recently announcing that it would provide 1 million vaccinations to the country. It is unknown when they will arrive. Because China has already donated a lot in recent months, this is likely to be the final immunizations Nepal receives as aid from China. Nepal is ranked first on the list of countries to which China has donated immunizations, according to data.
Because the vaccines are coming from China, Nepal is unlikely to receive significant assistance from India. According to sources close to the Indian Embassy in Kathmandu, Nepal may receive an additional 200,000 immunizations from India.
The United States is another country on which Nepal relies for immunizations. The United States recently declared that it would donate 60 to 80 million immunizations to other countries. According to Nepali government authorities, Nepal may receive up to 500,000 immunizations as a result of this.
According to Foreign Minister Pradeep Gyawali, US officials told him that Nepal would be among the first few countries to get vaccines from the US. However, it is unknown when they will arrive. Officials are also negotiating with the United Kingdom to deliver certain immunizations.
3. With which nations is Nepal negotiating the acquisition of vaccines?
Since December 2020, Nepal has been in contact with a number of nations where vaccines are manufactured in order to obtain them. However, just two countries have recently expressed an interest in selling vaccinations to Nepal. They are China and Russia, respectively. According to Gyawali, talks are underway with Russia and China to procure 5 million vaccinations apiece.
“We’ll make a breakthrough in a few days,” he said.
4. Were the laws unfavorable to the acquisition of vaccines? What has changed?
The administration believes that asking India to sell vaccinations would be disrespectful given that India has become a key hotspot for Covid-19. However, Nepal has been requesting India on a monthly basis if India could give a million vaccines, which Nepal has already paid for.
If that happens, the government will be able to administer the second dose of Covishield to the 1.3 million persons over the age of 65 who received their first dose more than eight weeks ago.
Nepal has repeatedly requested that India provide it with 1.7 million vaccines to ensure that everyone who received the first dose of Covishield receives the second dosage.
President Bidya Devi Bhandari asked Indian President Ram Nath Kovind to provide the immunizations during a phone call. India has stated that it will begin exporting vaccines by the end of 2021, but Nepal is doing all possible to pursue India, but things are not looking promising.
6. How many vaccines does Nepal anticipate receiving from Covid-19 Vaccines Global Access (Covax)?
Covax was intended to provide significant assistance to the government. Everyone in the government was ecstatic when Covax provided 348,000 immunizations to Nepal in March. Covax has stated that it will offer enough immunizations to cover 20% of the country’s population.
However, Covax’s delivery of vaccines is delayed, and the government is in constant contact with it. However, Covax has advised Nepal to look for alternatives to Covishield because it may be unable to supply enough vaccines on time.
7. Is it possible to mobilize the private sector to bring the vaccines?
Yes, the government has allowed private companies to bring in vaccines. The Department of Drug Administration has granted Hukum Enterprise authorization to bring in Covishied and Lomas Pharma permission to bring in Sputnik V. (Russia).
Despite the fact that bids have been received to bring in Vero Cell, the department has yet to decide who would receive it.
8. Why hasn’t the Russian Sputnik V brought to Nepal?
Russia was the first country to develop and administer a vaccination to its citizens. There was even discussions of bringing such vaccination to Nepal in December 2020. However, after claims of its effectiveness leaked in world media, the plan was abandoned.
Scientists have now demonstrated that the vaccination works and is effective. Soon after, Nepal granted permission to import the vaccine. However, according to government officials, the process to deliver it to Nepal is still ongoing and would take time.
Russia does not appear to be willing to deliver the vaccines as aid.
9. Which country would be the best place for Nepal to import vaccines?
India needs to be the answer. It is the closest country, and carrying the vaccines is simpler and less expensive. Covishield was initially acquired for $4 per vaccination. It doesn’t get any cheaper than this. The cost of vaccines obtained from the United States and China has yet to be calculated.
Bangladesh paid $10 per vaccination for Vero Cell from China. India also purchases vaccines from Russia at a cost of $10 per vaccine. Various media reports report that other vaccines used in the West, such as Moderna, Pfizer, and Johnson and Johnson, were selling for $20 each vaccination.
10. How many people does the government intend to immunize?
The government intends to vaccinate 72% of the population. To do so, the government must spend at least Rs 48 billion, although the government has allotted approximately Rs 26.75 billion for vaccinations in the next fiscal year’s budget.
According to sources, it intends to obtain these vaccines using government funding and sources and will not pay more than $10 per vaccine. It is also seeking for additional assistance. However, with more young people becoming infected with the virus, scientists believe that more than 72% should be vaccinated.