A man receives a dose of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at Nepal Disabled Association Khagendra New Life Centre in Kathmandu. (Photo Credit: Reuters)
A man receives a dose of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at Nepal Disabled Association Khagendra New Life Centre in Kathmandu. (Photo Credit: Reuters)

Long queues, hours of waiting and dearth of COVID-19 jabs in Nepal

ANI | Updated: Jul 30, 2021 11:40 IST

By Binod Prasad Adhikari
Kathmandu [Nepal], July 30 (ANI): Facing the scorching sun, and uncertainty over the chance to get the jab, hundreds of Nepali were seen queuing in serpentine lines outside vaccination centres on Friday morning.
The visuals of long lines have become commonplace throughout all vaccines centres since the second wave of COVID-19 struck the country. Lucky ones get jabs while some are turned away from the gate due to a shortage of vaccines.
Saroj Shrestha was one of the denizens of Kathmandu who was turned away from the gate of a vaccination centre on Friday after the vaccine quota for the day got exhausted.
"They turned me out from the gate citing the tokens for vaccines has been distributed for the day and I have to come next day that too at around 6 am to ensure my shots as they would distribute token for the day from 8 am," Shrestha told ANI.
Despite the latest purchase of four million jabs from China, arduous wait for it is increasing frustration amongst people getting a vaccination.
Nepal started its immunisation campaign in January after receiving donations of vaccines from India. As the nation facing the third wave of pandemic queues outside vaccination centres carries the potential to fuel the infection as all health protocol measures are flouted.

In order to reduce the influx of people to major hospitals, the government now is conducting inoculation drives at local levels also but it has become hard for local bodies to manage the lines.
The local bodies have claimed urgency among people and the communication gap between authorities and people has been fueling the confusion in the current situation.
"Standards fixed by the state that people above 54 years need not stand on line for jabs are being followed, for others, we have separated two lines on the basis of gender outside and inside the vaccination centre," Keshav Thapa, a local body representative of Nagarjun Municipality in capital Kathmandu told ANI.
"There has been confusion and people react over it. Most people think that they should get the jabs as they reach the vaccination centres. These vaccines are meant to avert the severe impact of COVID-19, we have been requesting them to maintain distance and stand in queue but they want the vaccine to be administered immediately and quickly, be first amongst others," Thapa added.
Thapa claimed that the influx of people from Kathmandu Metropolitan City areas has also been playing a role in increasing footfalls in vaccination centres like in his area which lies on the outskirts of the capital.
"People who have flocked to this vaccination centre in Nagarjun Municipality-04 lies at a closer distance with the Kathmandu Metropolitan and the people from there (KMC) stands high than those residing here at Nagarjun Municipality that's why the number of people standing in a queue is high," Thapa said.
But not all those who flocked to the outskirts for vaccination get jabs, some have to return home in anger despite standing in line for hours or even the whole day.
"When I was close to the entrance, they asked 100 people to queue for the vaccine. Now they are turning out from here saying doses are now out, I stood in the queue since 10 am in the morning and it's been almost evening and they also won't give us the coupon for the next day," Namita Shrestha, a denizen from KMC who had to wait for hours and turned out from vaccination centre said.
Though Nepal earlier had introduced an online registration system to book slots for vaccines, call for vaccines on the basis of early bird booking is yet to start. But the government has been claiming that easy and equal access to vaccines always has been its priority which has failed in terms of execution. (ANI)