Nepal resumes vaccination campaign with doses donated by China
KATMANDU, Nepal (AP) – Nepal resumed its stalled coronavirus vaccination campaign on Tuesday with 1 million doses administered by China after the Himalayan nation launched international appeals for help with drug shortages. doses.
Thousands of people, all 64 years old, lined up in front of vaccination centers before they even opened. People aged 60 to 63 are scheduled for the next few days.
Nepal’s vaccination campaign began in January but was stalled when neighboring India suffered a coronavirus surge and banned exports of the AstraZeneca vaccine it produces. Nepal had received 1 million doses of AstraZeneca donated by India and paid 2 million more, but never received half of the shipment.
That has left 1.4 million people over 65 who received a first dose of AstraZeneca vaccine still unsure whether they will receive their second.
China’s first donation of 800,000 doses of Sinopharm vaccine in March was quickly secured.
Desperate Nepal has made several appeals to foreign governments and international donor agencies. President Bidhya Devi Bhandari telephoned the Chinese leader and wrote to the Indian, American and British presidents.
Another million doses donated by China arrived this month.
“I am the happiest person today. I finally received the vaccine and I am now protected, ”said businessman Pawan Khanal at a vaccination center in Kathmandu. “I really want to thank the government.
“Not only me, but my family are also much safer now because we received our vaccine,” said another beneficiary, Gopal Shrestha, who came with his wife.
City and health officials said they had been frustrated not being able to provide answers to people desperate for vaccines. “Everyone wants to get vaccinated and protect themselves,” said Saroj Dhoj Mulmi, member of the city council.
Coronavirus cases in Nepal are on the decline after a lockdown imposed when infections soared. In April and May, hospitals treated patients in hallways, parking lots and waiting areas while battling drug and oxygen shortages.
The 4,472 new COVID-19 cases reported on Monday were about half of the daily figures reported last month.