Answer to Nepal from three American companies: Vaccine supply is not possible before 2022
KATHMANDU: Three American vaccine companies have replied to Nepal that they cannot supply vaccines immediately. The Washington-based Nepali mission said in a statement that Johnson & Johnson, Moderna and Novavax had responded.
Nepal had requested the vaccine companies to purchase 5 million doses from Johnson & Johnson and 2 million doses from Moderna.
On 17th June 2021, a virtual dialogue was held between Johnson & Johnson and a representative of the Ministry of Health of Nepal. During the talks, a representative of Johnson & Johnson said that the possibility of supplying vaccines before 2022 is low.
Due to the global supply chain, they have stated that they will not be able to supply vaccines within this time. Ambassador Yuba Raj Khatiwada also requested to supply vaccines in small quantities in phases. Johnson’s representative said he would take the ambassador’s message to the leadership.
Another US vaccine, Moderna, has stated that commercially it is not in a position to export the vaccine immediately. Moderna said the vaccine could not be exported until next year as global vaccine supplies were affected.
Baltimore-based vaccine manufacturer Novavax also said it is not ready to export vaccines commercially for the time being. Novavax is awaiting approval from the US government.
Apart from the vaccine from COVAX, Nepal was preparing to buy additional quantities. The government was preparing to purchase 5 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine with World Bank investment without participating in the procurement process itself.
However, US President Joe Biden has pledged to provide vaccines to other countries, including Nepal, through the COVAX. Of the 25 million doses of vaccine provided by the United States within this month of June, the Asia-Pacific countries, including Nepal, will receive 7 million doses. Nepal will have to distribute vaccines from these 7 million doses itself.
In the second phase, the United States announced the distribution of an additional 80 million doses of the vaccine out of which 17 Asian countries including Nepal will be able to get 16 million doses of vaccine from COVAX. The mission in Washington said it had not been decided yet how many doses Nepal would receive.