Nepal on Sunday received the one million doses of Covishield vaccine it bought from India's Serum Institute, in a major boost to the country's fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. Oxford-AstraZeneca's Covishield is being manufactured by Pune-based Serum Institute of India (SII) which has collaborated with Oxford University and pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca for making the vaccine.
An Air India aircraft carrying the consignment of COVID-19 vaccines landed at the Tribhuvan International Airport in the morning, according to sources at the Indian Embassy here. The Nepal government has decided to procure a total of two million doses of the vaccine manufactured by the SII.
Last month, India gifted one million doses of Covishield vaccine to Nepal. The Nepal government has already started administering the vaccines on health workers, security personnel and journalists on priority basis.
It is planning to soon start a vaccine rollout for elderly citizens, according to the Health Ministry. Nepal has so far reported 2,73,431 COVID-19 cases and 2,061 fatalities.
India is one of the world's biggest drug makers and an increasing number of countries have already approached it for procuring the coronavirus vaccines. India has sent consignments of domestically produced coronavirus vaccines under grant assistance to Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Mauritius and Seychelles.
It is also undertaking commercial supplies of the doses to a number of countries, including Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Brazil and Morocco.