Friday, 17 September, 2021
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EDITORIAL

COVID Vaccine Efficacy



It is notable that Nepal has witnessed a significant fall in the number of new COVID-19 infections on a daily basis over the past couple of weeks, with the vaccination drive against this fatal viral disease going on well. On Sunday, the country recorded 1,388 new cases of which 1,214 were detected through PCR tests while 2,260 patients recovered. This shows that the number of people recovering from the virus has been on the rise. This is certainly a positive signal. The active COVID-19 cases stand at almost 36,000 while some 712,700 have recovered as of Sunday. As inoculation is considered the only way to bring this pandemic under control, the government has been carrying out this campaign on a priority basis. As many as 5,063,522 people (16.6 per cent) people have so far received their first dose of vaccine while a total of 4,527,765 (13.5 per cent) have been fully vaccinated.

With the anti-COVID vaccination drive gaining momentum throughout the nation, the number of COVID-19 vaccine doses administered per 100 people has exceeded 30. The government aims to vaccinate one-third of its citizens by mid-October this year and complete the inoculation drive by mid-April next year. The immunisation against COVID-19 in the country had begun since January 27 this year immediately after receiving one million doses of Covishield vaccines from India under its grant assistance. Till date, the government has purchased millions of doses of various vaccines manufactured in different nations. China, the United States of America, Japan, the United Kingdom and Bhutan are other nations to make available vaccines to Nepal. The life-saving jabs have also been given by several nations through COVAX facility. The government hopes that some 20 million doses of vaccines will arrive in the country by mid-October.

The Ministry of Health and Population (MoHP) has already initiated the process of purchasing an additional 6 million doses of the Vero Cell vaccines from China while it has paid for four million doses of Moderna vaccines to the US manufacturer through the World Bank. The US firm is expected to deliver the jabs by mid-February. The country is looking forward to receiving some 11 million more doses of vaccines from COVAX under a cost-sharing mechanism by mid-February. However, Nepal still needs more than 40 million doses of vaccines. The government has incorporated young populace aged 12-17 years as well in its vaccination programme. Earlier, it had planned to inoculate only those above 14 years.

Meanwhile, yet encouraging news is that more than 68 per cent of the population in country has developed anti-bodies against COVID-19. A report based on the survey test of 13,161 people aged above six months conducted nationwide by the MoHP has indicated that the people who had got the first dose of the vaccine had 80 per cent anti-body. And those who had got a second dose of the vaccine were found developing 90 per cent anti-body against the virus. The findings have made it clear that the vaccines used against COVID-19 were very effective. Notwithstanding this, everyone must fully follow the health protocols like wearing a face mask, maintaining social distancing and washing hands with soap and water frequently to keep the killer virus at bay.