KATHMANDU – The government is to provide the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine as an alternative to the booster dose the Covishield vaccine.
The government decided this after the Serum Institute of India, the manufacturing company of Covishield vaccine and the COVAX Facility expressed inability to supply additional quantity of Covishield vaccines to Nepal for the time being.
Now the Ministry of Health and Population is to give the AstraZeneca vaccine for those waiting for the booster shot of Covishield as both vaccines are similar in its nature and composition.
According to Director of Family Welfare Division, Department of Health Services, Dr Taranath Pokhrel when the import of Covishield vaccine is presently not possible, AstraZeneca will be given to the recipients of the first dose of Covishield as both vaccines were developed by the same company being based on the same formula and methodology and it would make no difference in giving the AstraZeneca as an alternative to the Covishield.
The vaccination schedule is yet to be fixed.
The booster or second dose is to be taken after 12-16 weeks of getting the first shot. Around 1.4 million of people above 65 years of age were provided the first shot of Covishield from 7th March 23rd to 23rd March. They are waiting for the final shot as the Serum Institute of India expressed its inability to supply one million doses of vaccines that Nepal had procured from the company for the time being in view of the increasing infections rate in India.
So far in Nepal, the number of population receiving the first shot of COVID-19 jab stands at 2.13 million while 691,184 have received the full course. The government is administering the China –manufactured Vero Cell to the people from 60-64 age group from tomorrow, Tuesday.