Nepali authorities are in touch with the Serum Institute of India (SII), the manufacturer of the Covishield vaccine, for the direct procurement of five million doses of Covid-19 vaccines
Nepali authorities are in touch with the Serum Institute of India (SII), the manufacturer of the Covishield vaccine, for the direct procurement of five million doses of Covid-19 vaccines. India, which had earlier banned the export in April after the horrific second wave, has recently lifted the ban on the export of Covid-19 vaccines.
The proposal was sent by Nepal’s Ministry of Health and Population to the Serum Institute of India, which has been producing the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine under the Covishield brand name, reported the Kathmandu Post newspaper.
“We have already sent a proposal to the vaccine manufacturing company to sell 5 million doses of Covishield directly to the government,” Health Secretary Roshan Pokhrel, was quoted as saying by the Kathmandu Post. “Like in the past, we want to procure vaccines directly from the vaccine manufacturing company,” he added.
In February, Nepal had purchased two million doses from the SII. However, later when they tried to purchase five million more doses, the Indian government had banned the export by the time. Of the two million doses, it had purchased earlier, one million doses were delivered last month, when the ban of lifted.
A few days ago, Health Minister Birodh Khatiwada met Indian ambassador Vinay Mohan Kwatra and told him that the government wanted to purchase 5 million doses of Covishield and sought his assistance to facilitate the deal.
Nepal mostly relied on China, WHO's Covax, and other sources for vaccines after India banned the export. It had earlier purchased 10 million doses of Vero Cell vaccine with Chinese vaccine manufacturing company Sinopharm through a non-disclosure agreement, 1.02 million of which has already been delivered.
Nepal also received vaccines in form of donations and grant assistance from India, China, and the United States. Around 24 percent of its nearly 30 million population has been vaccinated fully so far. For achieving herd immunity, close to 20 million people need to be vaccinated in the country.