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People above 55 years to be vaccinated from March 7



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By A Staff Reporter
Kathmandu, March 1: The government is starting the second phase COVID-19 vaccination for people aged above 55 years from March 7. All people in this age group have been placed in the second category of priority.
Fourteen thousand vaccinators including the mobile teams will be mobilised in this phase which includes the largest chunk of the population to be inoculated.
Six thousand vaccination centres are targeted throughout the nation to carry out this inoculation campaign. Administration of the second dose vaccine for the people in this phase are expected from May 31 to June 19.
Trust on the vaccines is increasing and the rule of priority is strictly followed in inoculation, said Minister for Health and Population Hridayesh Tripathi at an interaction with media editors on Sunday.
“I am eligible to receive a vaccine on March 7 as per the rule of priority. There is no rule to vaccinate important people first,” said the Health Minister. He added that the government would not carry out vaccination in anarchic way.
Referring to acquiring Covishield vaccine from India, both under grant assistance and concessional purchase rate of four dollars per dose, Minister Tripathi said, “This has not materialised with just an ordinary effort.”
The Health Minister pledged to make the vaccine related expenditure details transparent by issuing a White Paper. “I will also make the expenditure figures public through a statement of public importance at the Parliament.”
The fact is that vaccines could not be purchased by strictly following the Public Procurement Act. Some difficulties of the rules had to be removed through an ordinance. For instance, it was impossible to receive the vaccines if we did not pay the total amount, Minister Tripathi said.
Secretary at the Health Ministry Laxman Aryal said that the second phase vaccinations would be executed through health institutions. He added that the provincial governments and local levels will undertake the vaccination drive and the mobile teams will even reach the doorsteps.
Secretary Aryal said that the expenditure details of the vaccines will be made public every month. The prices of vaccines may go up in future but we will get them below the market price, he added.
Vaccine expert Dr. Shyam Raj Uprety said that the COVID-19 vaccines should be administered on people with immune-deficiency, breast-feeding mothers and those with chronic diseases of heart, brain, lungs, kidneys and cancer.
Critically ill people should be administered the vaccines once they recover and people aged below 18 years are not given the vaccines because trials have not been conducted on them, Uprety said.