COVAX FACILITY First Batch To Nepal

As Nepal has launched the second phase of vaccination, receiving the first batch of COVID-19 vaccines from COVAX facility is a great support

March 18, 2021, 11:04 a.m. Published in Magazine Issue: VOL. 14 No. 14, March 12, 2021 (Falgun 28, 2077) Publisher: Keshab Prasad Poudel Online Register Number: DOI 584/074-75

Vaccinating Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli at TU Teaching Hospital, Nepal has entered into the second round of COVID-20 vaccination drive. As it is aiming to vaccinate over 4 million population above the age of 55, Nepal needs to ensure adequate supply.

Thanks to COVAX facility, Nepal was among the first countries in Asia to receive COVID-19 Vaccines. The COVID-19 vaccines delivered by COVAX will contribute to the Government of Nepal’s efforts to vaccinate some of the most vulnerable people across Nepal

As Nepal has launched the second round of vaccination scheme, Nepal received its first consignment of COVID-19 vaccine doses shipped through the COVAX Facility, a partnership between CEPI, Gavi, UNICEF and WHO, made possible through generous donor support from governments, international organizations, foundations and the private sector.

The delivery of COVAX-procured vaccines to Nepal is part of a historic step towards ensuring equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines globally, in what will be the largest vaccine procurement and supply operation in history.

The goal of the COVAX Facility is to supply Nepal with enough doses to vaccinate 20% of the population depending on funding availability. Under the first COVAX allocation, the COVAX Facility will deliver 1.92 million vaccine doses to Nepal by the end of May 2021, in support of the Government of Nepal’s nation-wide vaccination campaign.

The first COVAX shipment of 348,000 doses of AstraZeneca ‘Covishield’ vaccines manufactured by the Serum Institute of India (SII), together with 350,000 syringes and 3500 vaccine safety boxes arrived in Kathmandu before being distributed to provinces and municipalities across the country.

COVAX-supported vaccines provide a critical contribution to the Government of Nepal’s National Deployment and Vaccination Plan (NDVP) target to vaccinate roughly 22 million people, among them refugees, migrant returnees and other migrant populations. With the contribution of the Government of India, Nepal was able to commence the vaccination campaign and to date, 429,705 people have been vaccinated.

The COVAX Facility is generously funded by partner governments, including the Governments of Australia, Finland, France, Germany, Japan, Korea, Norway, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, the United States and the European Union as well as foundations and corporations

The arrival of the COVAX supplied vaccines will boost Nepal’s vaccination efforts as it coincides with the launch of the second phase of the vaccination campaign which targets those who are most vulnerable to developing severe illness from COVID-19 including the elderly and people with comorbidities. The second phase will also target teachers, as part of the expanded group of frontline workers.

Ongoing public health measures to prevent the transmission of COVID-19 will continue to be critical alongside vaccination. This includes adhering to testing and quarantine measures, mask wearing, hand hygiene, and physical distancing of at least two meters.

Representatives of the COVAX technical and funding partners joined the Minister of Health and Population, Hridayesh Tripathi, in welcoming the global COVAX contribution to Nepal’s COVID-19 vaccination efforts at Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu.

Development partners congratulated Nepal for being among the first countries in the world to have launched COVID-19 vaccination efforts in January 2021.They reiterated their solidarity with Nepal, as exemplified by the arrival of the first COVAX vaccine contribution.

Nepal’s development partners are committed to working with Nepal through the pandemic recovery period to ensure that no one is left behind. Supporting the vaccination of everyone living in Nepal through COVAX will go a long way to restoring normalcy, preventing the loss of social and economic gains made and paving the way for socio-economic recovery.

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PM Oli Administered

Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli received the vaccine against the novel coronavirus starting the second phase of the COVID-19 vaccination drive,

The Prime Minister requested everyone to cooperate with the government by taking part in the vaccination campaign. For the first 10 days of the second phase, citizens above 65 years of age will be administered the vaccine after 10 days people above 55 years of age will be vaccinated.

The second phase of the immunization will cover the citizens above 65 years in the country. In the 15 mountain districts, people above 55 will be immunized.

The target is to administer the vaccine to around 1.6 million senior citizens, said an official. A total of 6,000 vaccination centers have been set up across the country for the purpose.

The first phase of the campaign was organized from January 27 to February 22, which targeted the frontline workers including health workers.

A total of 429,000 people took the first dose of the Covishield vaccine in the first phase.

The second phase of vaccination began after the Prime Minister receiving the vaccine against COVID-19 at Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital (TUTH), Maharajgunj.

At a press briefing organized by the Ministry of Health and Population (MoHP), , said Minister for Health and Population Hridayesh Tripathi said that the government has made various efforts for the availability of vaccine to all the citizens.

Minister Tripathi asked all to help the vaccination drive to make it successful.

“For the first ten days, we will administer citizens above 65 years of age and then will continue to administer the vaccine to people above 55 years of age,” said Minister Tripathi.

The second phase of vaccination drive is very important as most vulnerable groups are prioritized in this phase, added Minister Tripathi.

According to Dr. Jageshwar Gautam, spokesperson for the MoHP, the government plans to vaccinate as many as 1.6 million senior citizens above 65 years of age in the second phase of COVID-19 vaccination campaign.

The campaign would be conducted at more than 6,000 vaccination centres and 15,000 health workers will be mobilized across the nation, said Dr. Gautam. Similarly, people above 55 will be administered the vaccine against the disease with the availability of vaccines, informed Dr. Gautam.

According to Dr. Gautam, the vaccination campaign will last for about 20 days, with the first 10 days being allocated for those above 65 years of age and the remaining 10 days for people between 55 to 64 years of age.

“We request everyone in the priority group to go to the convenient vaccine centres (health facilities) for vaccination, to protect self and others from COVID-19 infection,” said Dr. Gautam.

One million doses of Covishield were provided and brought to Nepal on January 21, under the grant assistance from the Indian government. Another one million purchased Covishield vaccines have also arrived in Nepal.

According to the MoHP, 429,705 persons have received the first dose of the vaccine, which is 1.4 per cent of the total population in the first phase of vaccination campaign.

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Nepal is receiving 348,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines under the World Health Organization’s COVAX facility.

Minister Tripathi informed that in total the vaccines under COVAX programme would suffice for 20 per cent of people in Nepal. Among the SAARC countries, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Nepal only are receiving vaccines from COVAX.

Under the COVAX facility, Nepal is receiving the Covishield vaccine, which has been developed jointly by Oxford University and AstraZeneca pharmaceutical company. The Serum Institute of India has manufactured the vaccines.

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