Vaccine Diplomacy

Correspondence by Nepal to British government to provide AstraZeneca vaccine

KATHMANDU: Minister of Health and Population Sher Bahadur Tamang has said that a letter is being prepared to send to the British government to provide AstraZeneca vaccine against COVID-19. Talking to media persons, he said that the letter would be sent stating that the senior citizens of Nepal could not get the second dose due to a lack of vaccines. 

“We will mention in the letter that the senior citizens above 65 years of age have not been able to get the second dose due to lack of vaccine,” he said. He expressed confidence that the UK would provide vaccines soon at the request of the government.

“As the second dose of vaccine needs to be given in time to save the lives of the senior citizens, we will request for the vaccine to be made available.”

The ministry has decided to administer the vaccine ‘AstraZeneca’ as an alternative to the ‘Covishield’ vaccine as both the Indian company Serum Institute and the CoVAX facility did not immediately provide the ‘Covishield’ vaccine. The second dose should be given 12 to 16 weeks after the first dose. The government says the Covishield and AstraZeneca vaccines are made by the same company and the same formula, so there is no difference. 

The first dose of Covishield was given to about 1.5 million people in the age group of 65 years and above from 7th March to 23rd March. They have not been able to get the second dose since it is not available. 

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