Kathmandu, December 25
After realising that bringing Covid-19 vaccines under the COVAX programme via the World Health Organisation takes time, Nepal has launched efforts to import them from India as soon as they are available there.
Nepal’s Ambassador to India, Nilamber Acharya, says the embassy is working so as to import the vaccines into Nepal as soon as India approves the ones which are currently at the last stage of the trial. At least two companies are making efforts to manufacture and approve Covid-19 vaccines in India.
Because India is close to Nepal and the temperature conditions are similar, using the vaccines produced in India will be easier for Nepal, according to the government officials. In addition, the procurement rules for the Indian vaccines are relatively simple whereas the cost will also be affordable.
“We are in continuous conversation with the manufacturing companies and the Indian government,” Ambassador Acharya tells Onlinekhabar, adding their responses have been positive so far.
In his Nepal visit last month, Indian Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla had also assured that India would support Nepal in obtaining the vaccines.
After the import, Nepal plans to use the vaccines for health workers, security personnel and senior citizens at first.
In total, the government wants to vaccinate 72 per cent of the population, excluding 28 per cent below the 15 years of age. The government will get vaccines for 20 per cent of the population from the COVAX.