Monday, 18 January, 2021
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EDITORIAL

Free Vaccination Plan



The recent launch of the vaccination campaign against the COVID-19 pandemic in some developed countries like the United States of America and the United Kingdom (UK) has brought a glimmer of hope to the entire humanity. Developing nations such as Nepal are now hopeful that their citizens will also have access to the life-saving vaccine by the end of next year. With this deadly virus disease transmitting fast globally, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has joined forces with various organisations to work for global equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines. COVAX, co-led by GAVI, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and the WHO, is searching for an effective vaccine for all countries.

Since no one can remain safe unless everyone is safe, the WHO’s initiative has started supporting the building of manufacturing capabilities, and buying supplies in order to justly distribute 2 billion doses of vaccine by the end of 2021. Developing a vaccine and making it accessible to everyone is essential to save humans from the most lethal virus disease of this century. Needless to say, the pandemic has taken lives of hundreds of thousands of people and disrupted the lives of billions more. It has also caused an unprecedented damage to the global economy. The vaccination against the COVID-19 pandemic is expected to prevent the loss of US$ 375 million to the global economy a month.

Against this backdrop, COVAX plans to offer doses for at least 20 per cent of countries' populations and manage and deliver vaccines to make an end to the acute phase of the pandemic. Nepal government has already stepped up measures to import vaccines. The Ministry of Health and Population (MoHP) has been working in close coordination with GAVI to bring the vaccines in Nepal. According to a news report carried by this daily on Monday, GAVI has called upon the government to stay prepared for storing and transporting vaccines. This signals that the country is going to have vaccines against the coronavirus disease in the near future. But the exact date for the arrival of vaccines in Nepal, and the amount of money to be spent for the jabs are yet to be ascertained.

However, the MoHP has received the information from GAVI that the vaccines would be made available within the first three months of 2021. So, the government has begun making necessary preparations for vaccinating people against the contagion. COVAX has forwarded a plan to make 1.3 billion vials of vaccine available to 92 countries. The vaccines to be made available through COVAX are required to be stored in temperature from 2 to 8 degree Celsius. To build necessary infrastructures for storing the vaccines, the government is in the process of constructing cold chains in all the seven provinces of the country with an investment of Rs. 80 million. The government has set aside Rs. 49 billion for procurement of vaccines against COVID-19.While assuming his office on Sunday, newly-appointed Minister for Health and Population Hridayesh Tripathi said that the government would vaccinate against the coronavirus pandemic at its expenses. 

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