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COVID-19: Nepal starts inoculation drive with Chinese vaccine despite safety concerns

ANI | Updated: Apr 07, 2021 16:42 IST

Kathmandu [Nepal], April 7 (ANI): Long queues were seen on Wednesday at the vaccine booth in Sukraraj Tropical and Infectious Disease Hospital in Kathmandu as Nepal started the inoculation drive with China-made COVID-19 vaccine Vero Cell, amid safety concerns.
Amongst those waiting for the jab on the first day of the second phase drive was Sulav, an Diploma level student studying in Beijing, who is planning to go back to continue his studies.
"Right now am here for the vaccination which I am trying to get as it's my requirement of college back in China so that I can go back there," Sulav told ANI as he stood in the queue to take the jab.
"To be completely honest, I am a bit nervous about it because we don't have enough information about it, so there are some trust issues," he added.
China made Vero Cell is yet to be ratified by the World Health Organization (WHO) for use due to limited availability of information about its tests. Very few countries including Nepal have granted emergency authentication to use the vaccine.

The inoculation drive started off from Wednesday, targeting those involved in the operation of emergency services, traders working across the Sino-Nepal border, and Nepali students studying in China.
"I just want to go back to China, I have heard that the tourists who took the Chinese vaccine only are allowed to go back so I just want to take the vaccine," Prasanna Parajuli, another student who waited in line to get the jab told ANI.
Nepal administered India-made COVISHIELD Vaccine developed and produced by Serum Institute of India in the first phase. The Himalayan Nation earlier this year received one million doses of COVISHIELD Vaccine from India in grant assistance and procured another two million from the same company out of which one million is yet to be delivered.
China on March 29 provided Nepal with 8,00,000 doses of Vero Cell, manufactured by the Beijing Institute of Biological Products Co Ltd (BIBP), China, under Sinopharm.
With the first phase of the vaccination drive already complete using India made COVID vaccine, Nepal is waiting for delivery of another one million vaccines from Serum Institute of India which is expected later this month.
In a bid to keep the inoculation drive moving, the Government of Nepal has decided to use China-made vaccine with limited safety information to be used for frontline health workers, and staffers of hotels, trekking agencies, the advertisement sector and the internet providers.
The government has designated 14 hospitals and health centres as vaccination booths. (ANI)