Saturday, 6 March, 2021
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EDITORIAL

Doses Of New Hope



It is inspiring to note that the ongoing vaccination against the COVID-19 pandemic has been moving ahead in a smooth manner across Nepal. After having received one million doses of Covishield vaccine under grant assistance from India, the government launched the much-awaited inoculation on January 27. The vaccination campaign has gathered momentum with the jabs being given to frontline workers, including doctors, nurses, security personnel, diplomats and journalists on a priority basis. Elected people's representatives, civil servants and other employees working with different public enterprises are now receiving the vaccines. The government has already developed necessary infrastructure across the country to make the vaccination drive a success. It has trained human resources and installed cold storages in hospitals and other health facilities for running the inoculation drive in an effective way.

Now the government is preparing for vaccinating the people above 60 years of age from the first week of March. University and school teachers and other employees working at educational institutions will also receive the vaccines. Under this drive, the Ministry of Health and Population (MoHP) aims to vaccinate more than 70 per cent of the country’s total population of about 29 million within a year. As of Sunday, Nepal has reported more than 273,400 coronavirus infections and 2,060 deaths. Over the past few weeks, the number of COVID-19 infections and fatalities has fallen sharply, creating a glimmer of hope among people. Another matter of happiness is that the COVID-19 recovery rate in the country is as high as 98.7 per cent. As per the update maintained by the MoHP on Sunday evening, there were about 1,535 active cases of the virus disease, with about 70 staying in quarantine. Among the total active cases, about 1,000 have been in institutional isolation across the country while 52 patients undergoing treatment at the Intensive Care Unit of hospitals and 10 receiving treatment with ventilator support.

The country has accorded high priority to dealing with the new coronavirus pandemic. Lately, the government has purchased two million doses of Covishield vaccine manufactured by the Serum Institute of India. Of them, one million doses arrived in Kathmandu on Sunday. The Indian company is likely to supply the remaining doses to the country soon. China has also pledged to donate 500,000 doses of vaccine to Nepal. Produced by Chinese pharmaceutical firm, Sinopharm, the vaccine is also expected to be shipped to Nepal in the near future. Last week, the government decided to approve an emergency use of the Chinese vaccine. Similarly, Nepal is in the process of getting some two million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine under the COVAX facility of the World Health Organisation (WHO).

The government has already reiterated its commitment that it would vaccinate people free of cost. This immunisation has created a lot of enthusiasm among the people. However, some people are reported to have been reluctant to get vaccinated due to rumours being spread against the life-saving jabs. Since the vaccines in use have been proven to be effective at containing this virus disease, everyone in eligible health condition must get the jabs. They must, however, abide by the health safety protocols even after getting vaccinated. 

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