Nepal receives 348,000 doses of Made-in-India COVID-19 vaccines under COVAX initiative
Nepal on Sunday received 348,000 doses of Made-in-India COVID-19 vaccines under the COVAX initiative.
In a tweet, the Embassy of India in Nepal wrote, "Today, 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. #VaccineMaitri @MEAIndia @PMOIndia."
COVAX is a global vaccine initiative run by a coalition that includes the Vaccine Alliance known as Gavi and World Health Organization (WHO) and is funded by donations from governments, multilateral institutions and foundations. Its mission is to buy coronavirus vaccines in bulk and send them to poorer nations that can't compete with wealthy countries in securing contracts with the major drug companies.
On the arrival of COVID-19 vaccines in Nepal, Vinay Mohan Kwatra, Indian Ambassador to Nepal, said, "I welcome the first arrival of COVAX shipment of 348,000 doses of Astrazeneca 'Covishield' vaccines from India."
"COVAX-supported vaccines will complement the ongoing vaccination campaign of Nepal against COVID-19, which was launched with the Government of India gifted one million doses Covishield vaccines on January 27 this year," he said.
"It is a matter of great happiness that India has been able to support and sustain. Nepal's vaccination drive on both bilateral basis as well as under WHO partner COVAX facility," he added.
According to an official statement, the goal of the COVAX Facility is to supply Nepal with enough doses to vaccinate 20 per cent of the population depending on funding availability.
Meanwhile, Nepal has become the first country to receive Covid-19 vaccines through the COVAX initiative in Asia.
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.
"With the generous contribution of the Government of India, Nepal was able to commence the vaccination campaign and to date, 429,705 people have been vaccinated," the statement read.
It further reported that the COVAX Facility is 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.
Meanwhile, Nepal launched the first phase of the vaccination campaign on January 27 earlier this year and administered vaccines to the frontline workers.