It is heartening to note that the first phase of the vaccination campaign against the COVID-19 pandemic has been going on smoothly in Nepal since its launch last week. Under this phase, the government aims to administer the vaccine to frontline workers, including doctors, nurses, and sanitation and security personnel across the nation. The much-awaited inoculation drive has boosted confidence among one and all as the vaccine is expected to contain the deadly virus. This immunisation campaign was launched after the donation of one million doses of the Covidshield vaccine by India under grant assistance. Developed by Oxford-AstraZeneca, this vaccine's efficiency is 90 per cent. The Covidshield vaccine is considered suitable for Nepal as it is not so difficult for us to maintain a cold chain for it.
Being the most important preventive tool to fight the global public health crisis, the anti-coronavirus vaccine is being administered to the frontline workers in all seven provinces of the country. There is no doubt that they are among those at high risk of infection since they have been battling the contagion since its outbreak at the frontline. The government aims to complete the first phase of the vaccination drive within the next three months. As of Sunday, as many as 88,007 persons in all the 77 districts received the first jab of the vaccine from 185 vaccination centres.
According to a news report published in this daily on Monday, some 12,763 persons received the first dose of the vaccine in Province 1 while the number was at 11,057 in Province 2. In Bagmati, Gandaki, Lumbini, Karnali and Sudurpaschim provinces, the number of people who got the vaccine stood at 28,683, 12,311, 10,760, 5,556 and 6,877 respectively. The government plans to administer the first dose of the vaccine to 430,000 people by February 5. Like any other vaccines against a viral infection, this vaccine may also have some mild side effects.
However, no one has so far shown any serious symptoms after getting vaccinated. Since the beginning of the anti-coronavirus vaccine development process, health experts have been saying that people may experience some effects such as mild fever and headache after receiving the jab. Such symptoms, however, disappear gradually within a few hours or so. Meanwhile, Nepal is also going to get a total of 300,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine from China in the near future. The Chinese government has decided to provide the vaccine under grant assistance. Altogether 150,000 people will benefit from these doses of the vaccine. The northern neighbour is going to make available the vaccine in order to implement President Xi Jinping’s commitment that China would make its vaccines available globally.
Manufactured by Sinopharm, the vaccine being donated by China has received marketing approval in China. As of January 31, more than 24 million doses of the vaccine have been administered. The vaccine has 79.34 per cent efficacy. Until now, this vaccine has got an approval for emergency use in 13 nations, including Pakistan, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Hungary. Considering the adverse impact of COVID-19 on the economy, human health and social life, Nepal is purchasing more doses of the vaccine against the pandemic so as to vaccinate all the citizens within this year.