Kathmandu [Nepal], April 14 (ANI): As the date for local elections is inching closer, cases of COVID-19 vaccination have declined in Nepal, local media reported.
Local elections are set to be held on May 13 across the country.
Officials at the Ministry of Health and Population said they are planning to launch a drive to administer Covid booster shots but are worried that election activities could hamper the drive, The Kathmandu Post reported.
"We have to launch a drive to increase the uptake of booster shots and are planning to do so, but we fear that the upcoming elections and pre-election activities could hinder our programme," said Dr Samir Kumar Adhikari, joint spokesperson for the Health Ministry, according to The Kathmandu Post.
It further reported that with the decline in COVID-19 cases in recent months, the uptake of the coronavirus vaccine has declined significantly. Of late, more people appear reluctant to take Covid booster shots.
Also, health authorities throughout the country have currently halted the COVID-19 vaccination drive to focus on the typhoid vaccination drive, which started last Friday.
"New hybrid Covid variants, which are either recombination of Delta and Omicron or a new mutation of Omicron, have been dubbed as highly infectious than the previous variants have been detected in many countries," said Dr Rajeev Shrestha of the Dhulikhel Hospital, according to The Kathmandu Post.
Shrestha added, "even if the infection rate of the coronavirus has declined of late throughout the country, the risk has not declined, as new variants could bring a new surge at any time."
The Election Commission had already asked the health authorities to administer the COVID-19 vaccine to all eligible people before the elections. But the government does not have a detailed record of the vaccinated population, The Kathmandu Post reported.
So far, 19,288,340 people of 66.1 per cent of the total population have been fully immunised with the COVID vaccine.
The Health Ministry says that 2,312,375 people or less than eight per cent of the total population have taken booster shots as of Wednesday. (ANI)