Bhutan is to provide 300,000 doses of vaccine against corona to Nepal. After Bhutan vaccinated the target group, Nepal will be assisted by the vaccine of AstraZeneca.
“Preparations are being made to bring the vaccine from Bhutan soon,” said a senior government official. “Initiatives are being taken at the government level through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs through diplomatic channels.”
In Bhutan, which has a population of 780,000, the United States imported 500,000 doses of Covax facility, 5,850 Pfizer, 250,000 AstraZeneca, 100,000 AstraZeneca from Croatia, Bulgaria and some other countries, and 50,000 doses of Sinofarm under the Covax facility. According to government officials, Bhutan wants to help Nepal with the remaining 300,000 doses of vaccine.
The issue of importing vaccines from Bhutan was also discussed at a meeting of the Covid-19 Crisis Management Committee (CCMC) on Friday. The CCMC has suggested to the government that the vaccine could be used as a second dose for citizens 65 years of age and older who received the first dose of Covisild last year. “It is estimated that the second dose will be given to senior citizens in Kathmandu who are receiving the vaccine from Bhutan,” the official said.
It has been four and a half months since senior citizens were vaccinated with the first dose of AstraZeneca. Despite receiving the first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine from India, the second dose could not come after the Indian Supreme Court banned exports and the infection spread rapidly there. Public Health Sharad Vanta said that since the first dose was given, the second dose would be given for 16 weeks. “The more you push back, the more effective it is. The second dose can be taken from 12 to 16 weeks, ‘he said.
The government administered the first dose of AstraZeneca to about 1.4 million senior citizens last February. Although 300,000 doses will come from Bhutan, another 1.1 million doses are still needed. According to government officials, the vaccine will be administered from Japan after the Tokyo Olympics. The Tokyo Olympics are coming to an end on August 8.