Nepal unlikely to get Indian Covid-19 vaccines before 2022

A health worker prepares a dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, in Kathmandu, January 2021.

Kathmandu, May 19

Nepal is unlikely to get Covid-19 vaccines from India before the turn of the year.

In February this year, Nepal had paid the Serum Institute of India Rs 930 million to purchase two million doses of the Covishield Covid-19 vaccines. The company delivered half of the supplies immediately, but the second half is still awaited.

Although the government has begun efforts to find alternatives sources for the vaccines, no substantial progress has been achieved so far. On the other hand, the health officials say they prefer the vaccines from the same company because they are cheaper than others.

But, in a statement on Tuesday, the company clarified it would not be able to export vaccines to other countries as well as the World Health Organisation’s Covax programme before the end of the year.

“We continue to scale up manufacturing and prioritise India,” the statement reads, “We also hope to start delivering to Covax and other countries by the end of this year.”

Dr Bhim Singh Tinkari, the chief of the Management Division of the Department of Health Services, however, says efforts are underway to receive the vaccines from India. “We have been reported that the talks are underway via the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the (Nepali) Embassy in New Delhi.”

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