COVID-19: Nepal receives 1.5 million J&J vaccine doses from US amid sluggish vaccination pace

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Nepal receives 1.53 million doses of Johnson and Johnson single-shot vaccines from the US on a grant basis. (ANI)
Nepal receives 1.53 million doses of Johnson and Johnson single-shot vaccines from the US on a grant basis. (ANI)

Kathmandu [Nepal], July 13 (ANI): Nepal, which has been struggling to inoculate its citizens against COVID-19, on Monday received a shipment of over one and a half million doses of Johnson and Johnson (J&J) single-shot vaccines from the US on a grant basis.

The shipment of 1.53 million doses of vaccines arrived in the Nepali capital Kathmandu under the COVAX facility.

"This is a gift and no cost from the American people. Today's delivery of this single-dose vaccine means that this single donation is enough to protect over 1.5 million people in Nepal from the deadly effect of COVID-19," said Randy Berry, US Ambassador to Nepal while addressing a press conference at Kathmandu Airport.

Earlier, President Bidya Bhandari had written a letter to her American counterpart Joe Biden urging the latter to extend help for COVID-19 vaccines. Experts have said that one dose of Johnson & Johnson will suffice against coronavirus.

"These 1.5 million doses of vaccines would be administered to the vulnerable population and people aged between 50-54. Nepal's immunization system has the capacity of inoculating 600,000 people in a day," said KP Sharma Oli, the caretaker Prime Minister of Himalayan Nation as he addressed the handing over ceremony held at his residence.

Nepal has received 348,000 doses of Covishield (developed by Oxford AstraZeneca) manufactured by the Serum Institute of India under the COVAX facility.

Nepal till date has received a total of 4.2 million doses of anti-COVID vaccines from India, China, Gavi COVAX facility (one of the three pillars of Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, which was launched in April.

It brings together governments, global health organizations, manufacturers, scientists, the private sector, civil society and philanthropy, with the aim of providing innovative and equitable access to COVID-19 diagnostics, treatments and vaccines.

Out of the total received vaccines, one million dosages were commercially procured from India while the rest are on donations.

As per the ministry, a total of 9 per cent of the population has been administered the first dose of the vaccine- either Covishield or Vero Cell while 3 per cent of the population has already received the complete (two) doses of anti-COVID vaccines.

Though the inoculation drive in the Himalayan Nation started from January with the arrival of one million doses of India donated Covishied vaccine, Nepal faced a breakdown as a second wave swept through India compelling it to halt the export. (ANI)

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