Nepal requests early provision of COVID-19 vaccines, India assures priority

India said that Nepal has requested for early provision of coronavirus vaccines to Kathmandu.

Nepal requests early provision of COVID-19 vaccines, India assures priority

Nepal has lauded India over its vaccination drive saying that India is a frontrunner in starting vaccinating people against COVID-19 and this has given Kathmandu "great hope". On January 15 (Friday), Foreign Minister Pradeep Kumar Gyawali had said that Nepal too will be availing the COVID-19 vaccines.

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"Today as we wait for the availability of COVID-19 vaccines, India is one of the frontrunners. This has given us great hope. I take this opportunity to congratulate India and its innovative companies for success. Being next door, we believe we too will be availing these vaccines," Gyawali had said in a speech during an event organised by the Indian Council of World Affairs at Sapru House.

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An official release by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) read, "Nepal congratulated India on the remarkable success in the production of Covishield and Covaxin vaccines in India and requested for early provision of vaccines to Nepal."

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According to news agency ANI, the Nepal Embassy said in a release that Indian side assured that the "requirements of Nepal would be in priority consideration after the roll-out of vaccines". Kathmandu had on Friday approved the emergency use of Covishield vaccine, which is being manufactured by the Serum Institute of India (SII). India has given emergency use authorisation to two vaccines against COVID-19--Covishield and Covaxin. The vaccination drive began on January 16 (Saturday).

India and Nepal had on Friday held Joint Commission meeting which was co-chaired by Gyawali and External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar. Nepal congratulated India "on the remarkable success" in the production of Covishield and Covaxin vaccines in India and requested for early provision of vaccines, Ministry of External Affairs said in a release.

Though the detailed inoculation plan of Nepal Government is yet to be disclosed, a total of three companies applied for approval to take steps forward with Serum Institute for import of vaccines. India has already made conditional emergency approval for Covishield manufactured by the Serum Institute. Being one of the largest producers of vaccines at low cost, India has promised to provide vaccine to its neighbours in near future, added ANI.

As per a report by Hindustan Times, the Narendra Modi government has given assurances to Nepal that it will be among the first nations to receive India's vaccines. HT added that the supply schedule of the vaccines will be announced in the coming week. It also stated that this development was informed to Gyawali during his India visit.

After Nepal government approved emergency use of Covishield vaccine, people are hoping the pandemic will falter and human lives would be back on track. Nepal`s Department of Drug Administration on Friday had issued a release giving information on approving Covishield developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University, which will be manufactured by Serum Institute of India (SII) in India.

Drug regulating authority has also specified the Serum Institute of India for importers provided with low cost in purchasing and delivery of the vaccine to the public. Reacting over the news about government`s approval to Covishield vaccine to be used in case of emergency, Rojan Shrestha, a resident of Kathmandu who contracted the virus in 2020 said, "Nepal has approved the very first vaccine for emergency use. It is a matter of joy, as I was infected with the virus and had to isolate myself for a long time which was nearly a month."

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