Nepal to get 4 million doses of Moderna vaccines through COVAX

KATHMANDU: Nepal has reached an agreement with GAVI, a global alliance for vaccines and immunisations, to procure 4 million doses of Moderna vaccines against Covid-19 through the COVAX cost-share option. The World Bank will finance the vaccines.

“Nepal is an early mover in utilizing the COVAX cost-share scheme, and I am pleased to note that we have finalized an arrangement, despite very challenging circumstances, to bring safe and highly effective vaccines to Nepal,” said Umesh Shrestha, Minister of State for Health and Population. “Moderna vaccines have helped expand options for vaccinating Nepalis above 12 years of age and fast-track Nepal’s progress towards a safer post-COVID world.”

Delivery of these vaccines is expected to start by March 2022 and will contribute to Nepal’s goal to vaccinate at least 72 percent of its population, as well as children 12-17 years of age for whom the Moderna vaccine is deemed safe and effective.

“We are honored to support the people and Government of Nepal, along with our development partners, by financing the purchase of safe and effective vaccines through the COVAX facility,” said Faris Hadad-Zervos, World Bank Country Director for Maldives, Nepal, and Sri Lanka. “This is a key element of our overall COVID response by helping to meet emergency health needs and strengthening the healthcare and vaccine delivery system.”

The World Bank has made available $104 million to support the Government of Nepal’s health response to the pandemic, with $67.5 million earmarked to purchase and deploy COVID-19 vaccines. Last month, 1,000 oxygen concentrators were brought in through the project while seven oxygen generation plants are being established, one in each province. These will help strengthen health preparedness in the event of future waves of the pandemic.

“We commend the Government of Nepal for being the first country in South Asia, and one of the first in the world, to join and tap into the COVAX cost-share option,” said Hartwig Schafer, World Bank Vice President for South Asia said in a statement. “The World Bank is committed to continuing our support to Nepal’s COVID-19 vaccination program, which is critical to helping the people and economy of Nepal build back better from this unprecedented crisis.”

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