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What happened to 4m COVID vaccines in Nepal?

2022 Dec 05, 10:51,
An Indian doctor shows a COVID-19 vaccine at a government Hospital in Jammu, India. India started exporting COVID-19 vaccines to its neighboring countries on Wednesday, Jan. 20. (Image via RSS/AP)

Four million doses of Chinese-based Sinovac company's Sinovac-CoronaVac Covid-19 vaccine may not be rolled out ever.

Ministry of Health and Population officials said that they have proposed to roll out the vaccine at a meeting of the National Immunisation Advisory Committee four times but no decision was taken in this regard.

As the uptake of booster shots in Nepal is dismal, the fate of the Sinovac-CoronaVac COVID-19 vaccine is also at risk.

China supplied four million doses of Sinovac-CoronaVac jabs in March under grant assistance. The government sent planes specifically to bring the vaccines from China.

The doses have a shelf life of two years, so the health authorities decided to use another vaccine with a shorter life.

It was also reported that public health experts advised the authorities that it would be unwise to keep the vaccine doses manufactured months ago in stock for long, as COVID variants are mutating fast and the pharmaceutical companies have been working to redesign their vaccines.

"We have requested the local governments to see if the Sinovac-CoronaVac vaccine could be used as primary doses," said Dr. Bibek Kumar Lal, director of the Family Welfare Division. "But representatives from most local units say they do not have people who have not taken any vaccine dose."

According to Health Ministry officials, the Sinovac-CoronaVac vaccine does not have recommendations from credible organizations to use as a booster.

However, earlier, the World Health Organization's Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization (SAGE) issued updated interim policy recommendations for the use of the Sinovac-CoronaVac vaccine against COVID-19. The updated policy reads, "The vaccine is safe and effective for all individuals aged 18 and above. In line with the WHO Prioritization Roadmap and the WHO Values Framework, older adults, health workers, and immunocompromised persons should be prioritized."

"The Sinovac vaccine can be offered to people who have had COVID-19 in the past. But individuals may choose to delay vaccination for 3 months following the infection,' it added.

China has donated 3.8 million doses of Vero Cell to Nepal so far.

The Vero Cell vaccine is credited with saving lives in Nepal at the time of the Delta variant, which brought a second wave of the pandemic in the country.

Officials at the Health Ministry concede that all four million doses of the Sinovac-CoronaVac vaccine may have to be discarded as the chances of its use are slim.


4m COVID vaccines nepal Chinese-based Sinovac company CoronaVac Covid-19 vaccine Ministry of Health and Population Covid Family Welfare Division World Health Organization WHO


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