GAVI Ask The Government To Stay Prepared For COVID-19 Vaccines
Written by: Keshab Raj Poudel writes for The Rising Nepal
COVID-19 vaccines would be made available in Nepal shortly, GAVI has called the Nepal government to stay prepared regarding storage, transportation of vaccines, and other requirements as such.
Kathmandu, Dec. 27: The World Health Organisation (WHO), UNICEF, and Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (GAVI), which have been providing aids in promoting various vaccine campaigns in Nepal, have been cooperating to provide vaccines against COVID-19 as well.
Dr. Samir Kumar Adhikari, the assistant spokesperson of the Ministry of Health and Population (MoHP), said that the government had been cooperating with GAVI to import the vaccines in Nepal.
"GAVI, COVAX has continuously been informing the concerned states about the progress happening in manufacture and production of COVID-19 vaccines," added Adhikari.
However, the exact date on which the vaccines would arrive in Nepal and the exact amount cannot be ascertained, he said. "The vaccines will arrive soon as the necessary preparations are being done."
Spokesperson Adhikari said that information had been received from GAVI that the vaccines would be made available within the first three months of 2021. COVAX has put forward a plan of providing 1.3 billion vials of vaccine to 92 nations.
It has been said that vaccines to be made available from COVAX need to be stored from 2 to 8 degrees celsius.
Cold chain storage in all seven provinces
Following the GAVI's recommendation, the government has started the preparations to import the vaccines. In an investment worth Rs. 80 million, the government is constructing cold chain storage in all seven provinces.
Dr. Prakash Ghimire, a microbiologist who has been studying COVID-19 vaccines closely, said, "Nepal has been waiting for low-cost vaccines which would be effective and safe to store in the cold chain storage."
Similarly, citing that the vaccines favorable for storage in Nepal had not come in the world market, Dr. Jhalak Gautam, chief of the Immunisation Section, said that the procurement procedure had not kicked off yet. "However, the government is looking forward to bring the vaccines shortly," said Dr. Gautam.
The immunization section is preparing to use the cold chain storage of Tribhuwan International Airport (TIA) to store the COVID-19 vaccines. Likewise, all the government authorities have been striving to use the freezers available in health centers of all districts.
"As other vaccines are being stored in Nepal from 2 to 8 degree Celcius, we are now striving to construct cold storages to store vaccines till -20 degree Celcius," said Dr. Sharma.
The Nepal government has allocated Rs. 49 billion for procurement of vaccines against COVID-19 has been reported in The Rising Nepal.