Monday, April 19, 2021

China announces 500,000 doses of Covid-19 vaccine for Nepal

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  • Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi announced the donation during a telephone conversation with his Nepalese counterpart Pradeep Gyawali on Friday.

China on Friday announced it will provide 500,000 doses of Covid-19 vaccine to Nepal. With this, Nepal will become the second country in the neighbourhood to receive Chinese doses as a grant.

Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi announced the donation during a telephone conversation with his Nepalese counterpart Pradeep Gyawali on Friday evening, according to a brief readout from Nepal’s foreign ministry.

Wang also said China “would accord priority to Nepal in vaccine cooperation” and Gyawali thanked the Chinese government for the “support of Covid-19 vaccine and appreciated China’s stance to make it global public goods,” the readout said.

On February 1, China donated 500,000 doses of the Sinopharm vaccine – which is yet to be fully approved by Chinese health authorities – to Pakistan. The vaccines were promised by Wang during a phone conversation with his Pakistani counterpart esShah Mahmood Qureshi last month.

Nepal has already rolled out its inoculation drive, using one million doses of the Covishield vaccine provided by India as a grant on January 21. Nepal is looking for more doses as it plans to inoculate 430,000 people, including health and frontline workers, security personnel, senior citizens in old age homes and prisoners, in the initial stages of its vaccination drive.

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It also intends to cover six million people in the first phase of the drive and is engaged in talks with India for commercial supplies of more vaccines. Nepal also expects to receive millions of doses from Gavi or the Vaccine Alliance through the COVAX facility.

The Nepalese government had requested the supply of Indian-made Covid vaccines last year and the request was reiterated during a recent visit to India by Gyawali. As a close neighbour, Nepal was one of the first countries to receive vaccine grants under the Indian government’s “Neighbourhood First” policy.

India also helped train Nepal’s health workers, doctors and professionals for effective management of Covid-19, immunisation and cold chain management.

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