China becomes biggest vaccine donor to Nepal with 3.4 mn doses


China has announced on Friday that it would provide additional 1.6 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines to Nepal under grant assistance, after already donating 1.8 million doses of vaccines to the Himlayan nation earlier.

Besides, Nepal is purchasing 4 million doses of vaccines from China, out of which the first consignment has already arrived in Kathmandu.

With this, Chinese vaccine donation to Nepal has reached 3.4 million, which is the highest, Chinese Ambassador You Hanqi announced at a meeting with the new Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba at his office in Kathmandu.

According to a press statement issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Chinese envoy assured that China will continue its support to Nepal in its fight against the pandemic, including through providing the vaccines.

You also conveyed to the Prime Minister the recent decision of his government to provide Nepal with 1.6 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines as additional grant assistance, the statement reads. Deuba thanked the Chinese government for the vaccine support and expressed hope that China will continue to enhance its support to Nepal for both response and recovery.

Nepal launched its vaccination campaign on January 27 with the 1 million doses of Covishield received in grant assistance from India. Covishield is the AstraZeneca type vaccine manufactured by the Serum Institute of India.

In the first week of March, Covax, an international vaccine-sharing scheme backed by the United Nations, supplied 348,000 doses of Covishield.

At the end of March, 800,000 doses of Vero Cell were brought in from China, which Beijing had provided under grant assistance. An additional 1 million doses of Vero Cell under a Chinese grant then arrived again in June. On July 12, a little over 1.5 a million doses of the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine landed in Kathmandu. The vaccine was provided by the US through the COVAX facility.

On Wednesday, Japan announced it would donate 1.6 million AstraZeneca vaccines to Nepal under grant assistance.

On March 28, the Indian Army had provided 100,000 doses of Covishield to the Nepal Army. The doses were used to vaccinate Army personnel and their dependents.

The government in February signed a deal with the Serum Institute of India to buy 2 million doses of Covishield at $4 per dose. The Serum Institute, on February 1, supplied one million doses but stopped shipment of additional doses, citing the coronavirus crisis in India. The remaining one million doses have not arrived yet.