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Amid safety concerns, Nepal to use China-made Vero Cell COVID-19 vaccine

ANI | Updated: Apr 04, 2021 23:01 IST

Kathmandu [Nepal], April 4 (ANI): Nepal is set to start the second phase of its COVID-19 inoculation drive using China-made Vero Cell vaccine sans concerns over safety and approval from the World Health Organization (WHO).
Nepal's Ministry of Health and Population on Sunday announced the inoculation drive will begin on Wednesday where it plans to jab front line workers as well as those involved in cross-border trade with China.
"As many as, 500,000 of the total 900,000 people targeted for vaccination have already received COVID-19 vaccines. These 800,000 doses of China-donated vaccines will be administered to the remaining 400,000 people of the targeted group," Dr. Jageswhor Gautam, Spokesperson for the Ministry of Health said in a press briefing.
As per the official, students studying in China under scholarship schemes and preparing to go for further studies also would be administered with the vaccine made by Sinopharm.
Chinese ambassador to Nepal, HouYanqi, handed over COVID-19 vaccines to Minister for Health and Population HridayeshTripathi amidst a special function organized at TIA on March 29.

Nepal had granted conditional emergency approval for use of Vero Cell, the coronavirus vaccine manufactured by China's Beijing Institute of Biological Products earlier on February 18.
Despite Nepal's approval, other countries like Sri Lanka have remained wary of the Chinese vaccine. Sri Lanka's senior medical experts have stated that the Chinese vaccine Sinopharm, which was given by Beijing should not be used on Sri Lankan nationals, Daily Mirror reported.
Even Vietnam has remained an outlier to China's fanfare COVID-19 vaccine diplomacy campaign in Southeast Asia, Nikkei Asia reported.
Vietnam, which recently began its inoculation drive, has shied away from China-made vaccines, opting for the vaccine developed by British-Swedish pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca instead.
Nguyen Phuong Linh, associate director with global consultancy firm Control Risks asserted that China has failed to assuage fears of the lack of public data surrounding its COVID-19 vaccine.
This comes as Beijing has faced several accusations for spreading a sanitised narrative of its coronavirus handling, and spewing online disinformation about non-Chinese vaccines. (ANI)