Nepal to buy 2 million COVID-19 vaccines; Elderly to be inoculated from March 7 while students demand for their turn

The meeting of the Council of Ministers on February 16 decided to purchase 2 million additional doses of coronavirus vaccine “Covishield’ from India. The government has decided to make advance payment for the vaccines while the Ministry of Finance has set aside Rs 1 billion for the procurement of the same.

The payment would be made through Nepal Rastra Bank at the rate of US dollars 4 per dose.

The vaccines, which are expected to arrive by the end of February or early March, would be administered to senior citizens.

According to the Ministry of Health and Population (MoHP) spokesperson Jageshwor Gautam, MoHP has decided to inoculate people above the age of 60 from March 7.

The government plans to inoculate 2,652,258 people above 60 years of age, which is 8.73 per cent of Nepal’s population, according to Samir Adhikari, assistant spokesperson for the Health Ministry.

Meanwhile, the Nepal Student Union (NSU) staged a demonstration today at Maitighar Mandala, Kathmandu demanding that students be given priority in the vaccination campaign against coronavirus citing that students were at high risk of contracting virus after the resumption of of physical classes.

Earlier, the government of India, through its Vaccine Maitri programme, had sent 1 million doses of the Covishield vaccine to Nepal.

Covishield is the local name for the India-manufactured Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine developed in the UK.