Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba has made it clear that vaccinating the Nepali citizens against COVID-19 is the first and foremost priority of the government led by him. Addressing the first meeting of the reinstated House of Representatives on Sunday, Prime Minister Deuba made the promise regarding the vaccination. Prime Minister Deuba had secured the trust vote in the Sunday House meeting. On Monday, the government appealed all vaccine producing countries to provide additional COVID-19 vaccines either through grant assistance or through procurement process. The government made the appeal by holding a Cabinet meeting at Singha Durbar that decided to request friendly countries for additional assistance. The Cabinet meeting also thanked the vaccine providing countries for their recent support.
On Monday, Prime Minister Deuba started a new vaccination drive against the COVID-19 with the Johnson & Johnson vaccines provided by the United States of America. The Prime Minister inaugurated the vaccination drive at the Attarkhel-based Nepal Orthopedic Hospital. Addressing the inauguration function, the Prime Minister reiterated that ensuring the availability of COVID-19 vaccines for all citizens was the topmost priority of the government. On Monday, Prime Minister Deuba inspected the vaccination centers at Nepal Orthopedic Hospital, Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital, Bir Hospital-based COVID-19 Central Unified Hospital and Patan Hospital. More than 1.5 million doses of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines donated by the US government under the COVAX arrangements are being administered from Tuesday in various parts of the country.
The vaccines have started being administered in the Kathmandu Valley, Kavre and some districts of Gandaki province from Monday. According to officials at the Ministry of Health and Population, the vaccines would be made available throughout the country soon. Contrary to other vaccines, a single shot of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is sufficient to develop immunity against COVID-19. In this phase, the priority for the vaccination has been given to the citizens aged between 50 and 54 years, differently-abled people, refugees, health workers and sanitation workers who missed their jabs before. Earlier, Covishield of India and Vero Cell shots from China were administered to the people on priority basis. As per the update of the ongoing vaccination drive of the health Ministry, over 3 million people were vaccinated with first dose while 1.1 million citizens were inoculated with both doses.
The second wave of COVID-19 has not phased out yet. Although the number of infected people from COVID-19 has not gone down below thousand daily most recently, the government has eased the restriction measures for infection prevention. The suspected third wave of COVID-19 with more deadly delta variant is looming large. The outbreak of the third wave has been feared in Nepal India. If it grips the southern neighbour, it is likely to create alarm here too. Vaccination is the only the proven way to remain safe from COVID-19. So, the government under Prime Minister Deuba should take a fast track approach of vaccination drive across the country to inoculate the entire population as soon as possible.