The world was slowly recovering from the global pandemic, as many various vaccines were being manufactured. With the global corporation and unprecedented investment towards research and development, scientists have been able to create vaccination against this global threat.
Nepal has also started its immunization drive in late January of 2021. Through grants and buying, Nepal has received many such vaccines. However, despite the immunization process in action, the COVID cases are rising by the day. What does this mean in regards to the vaccination?
Vaccination in Nepal
The vaccination drive in January was possible after India supplied 1 M doses of the vaccine. Developed by the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca, a pharmaceutical giant, which was locally manufactured in India. The 1 million doses of the vaccine were a gift from India to Nepal in an attempt to heal the strains between the two countries. This first received dose was sent out to all 7 provinces aiming at frontline health workers and healthcare providers.
Nepal has further bought 1 million more doses from India at a rate of $4 per vaccine. Which is the same price Bangladesh is paying for. India has shipped out vaccinations to 2 dozen countries.
The vaccination import so far has been smooth and quick.
Nepal had been expecting vaccines from alliances backed by the World Health Organisation which send out vaccinations to poorer countries. Two such awaiting vaccinations are Russia’s Sputnik V and India’s BharatBioTech. They are still waiting to get cleared by the government.
China had also declared that they were going to donate 500,000 vaccines from their Sinopharm brand. This donation is also yet to receive by Nepal.
Hence, it is safe to say that Nepal lies dependent upon India for the buying of vaccines. Since now they have been the only constant source.
However, now India’s vaccines to Nepal also face a threat.
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India’s vaccination export threat
The reason Nepal is facing a shortage of the vaccine is that India, its only trustworthy vaccine source itself is facing a surge. India itself is facing a vaccine shortage due to a case surge.
With a total case tally of more than 13.5 million cases, India is now behind the United States which has reported more than 31 million cases. With 13.4 million cases, Brazil is now at number three.
India aims to vaccinate 250 million “priority people” by the end of July. But experts say that the pace of vaccination has been slow and unless the drive is scaled up, the target could be missed.
On Tuesday the government decided to give emergency approvals to vaccines already in use in other countries. It said the decision was taken to “expand the basket of vaccines for domestic use and hasten the pace and coverage of vaccination”.
It added that vaccines that have been approved by regulators in the US, the UK, European Union, and Japan would be given fast-track approvals in India. The health ministry added that the first 100 recipients of such vaccines would be monitored for seven days before the wider rollout.
Well, the concern now is how will Nepal tackle the situation. There are already so many people waiting for the second dose after getting the first one.
India which was exporting vaccines, now itself is importing Sputnik V and Covax. This branches out as a shortage to Nepal too!
India supplied vaccine before but with rising corona cases with over 1-2 lakh daily faces a problem with lack of vaccine itself. Time to think!!