Nepal receives 1.5 million Covid vaccines donated by US

Kathmandu, Jul 12 (EFE).- Nepal on Monday received 1.53 million doses of the Janssen anti-Covid vaccine developed by United States-based firm Johnson & Johnson as part of the COVAX global vaccine access initiative, as the country tries to inoculate as many people as possible following the second wave of the pandemic.

“These vaccines, which require only one shot, are gifts to Nepal on behalf of the American people and have the singular purpose of saving lives,” US Ambassador to Nepal Randy Berry said in a video statement on Monday.

He added that the donation would not only help Nepal recover from the pandemic but also “help to recover economic losses and regain the opportunity to safely visit with our friends, families, and neighbors.”

The US embassy said that the gift was part of US President Joe Biden’s commitment to including Nepal among the countries prioritized for the initial 80 million doses Washington is sharing with the world right now.

Nepali Health Minister Krishna Gopal Shrestha announced that the US vaccines would be administered to people aged between 50-54 years.

This is the second batch of anti-Covid vaccines that Nepal has received through the Covax program, after being given 348,000 doses of Covishield, developed by British-Swedish firm AstraZeneca and produced by the Serum Institute of India (SII), in March.

Kathmandu had kicked off its vaccination campaign in January with a million Covishield doses donated by the Indian government.

The country had also signed an agreement to purchase 2 million doses of the vaccine separately from SII, but has only received one million serums, which has led to concerns over obtaining the second dose for over 1.4 million citizens who have been administered one shot of the vaccine.

The arrival of Janssen vaccines has come as a relief for Nepal, which has been struggling to acquire sufficient doses to inoculate its population.

By Monday, over 2.6 million Nepalis have received at least one dose of an anti-Covid vaccine, while around 1.04 million or 3 percent of the total population has been fully vaccinated.

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