Covax tells Nepal to choose vaccines other than Covishield for the next lot

Health Minister Hridayesh Tripathi (r) receives the first lot of Covax vaccines, at the Tribhuvan International Airport, in Kathmandu, on Sunday, March 7, 2021. Photo: Bikas Shrestha

Kathmandu, May 26

Citing the shortage of the Covishield Covid-19 vaccines after the Serum Institute of India stopping its export, the Covax programme under the World Health Organization has asked Nepal to choose vaccines other than Covishield.

The global vaccine support programme had made a commitment to supplying 1.92 million doses of vaccines by May to suffice 20 per cent of the country’s population qualified for the vaccines. So far, it has given only 348,000 doses of Covishield vaccines.

The Ministry of Health and Population has recently received a letter from the programme with a request to choose an alternative, informs Dr Jhalak Sharma Gautam, the chief of the Vaccination Division under the Department of Health Services.

“We will send our response by June 1 after a discussion,” Dr Gautam says, “We will choose one among Covaxin, Johnson & Johnson, Sputnik V, and Vero Cell as our storage system suits them.”

He hopes the programme will send the vaccines to Nepal after receiving the reply very soon owing to its commitment to sending the vaccines by May.

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