First Business News Portal in English from Nepal
KATHMANDU: The decision of Indian government to resume export of Covid-19 vaccines has paved way for Nepal to get one million doses of Covishield vaccines that Nepal has already paid the price for.
In February, Nepal had paid Serum Institute Rs 930 million to purchase two million doses of the Covishield Covid-19 vaccines. The company delivered half of the supplies immediately, but the second half is still awaited.
However, the Indian government’s decision to lift ban on export of Covid-19 vaccines has opened doors for Nepal to get remaining one million doses of Covidshield vaccines within October.
India will resume exporting Covid-19 vaccines from October, five months after it stopped sending supplies abroad in the face of a deadly wave of infections, the health minister said Monday.
The South Asian giant, dubbed the “pharmacy of the world”, was a major supplier to the Covax programme aimed at ensuring poor countries can access doses.
Exports stopped in April, according to foreign ministry data, when a virus surge in India pushed the healthcare system to breaking point and there was a huge demand for jabs.
Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya said more than 300 million vaccine doses would be produced in October and one billion in the last three months of the year.
“India will be resuming export of vaccines… in order to fulfill the commitment of India towards Covax,” Mandaviya said in a statement. “The surplus supply of vaccines will be used to fulfill our commitment towards the world for the collective fight against Covid-19.”
Covax is co-led by the World Health Organization (WHO), the Gavi vaccine alliance and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, with UNICEF using its vaccine logistics expertise to handle the delivery flights.
Under Covax, the 92 poorest countries can access jabs for free, with donors covering the cost. The Serum Institute of India (SII) plant, producing AstraZeneca doses, was supposed to be the early backbone of Covax’s supply chain.
A Gavi spokesman welcomed the news from New Delhi. “This could have an immense positive impact on both health security within India as well as globally,” he told AFP.
“Our priority right now is to engage with the government of India and the SII to understand the impact this will have on our supply schedule, as we race to protect as many vulnerable people as we can from Covid-19.”
Some 5.9 billion coronavirus vaccine doses have been administered around the world, according to an AFP count.
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