Nepal President writes to her India counterpart seeking Covid vaccine

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Kathmandu, May 26 (IANS) Nepal President Bidhya Devi Bhandari has written a letter to her India counterpart Ram Nath Kovid, seeking Covid vaccine doses from the neighbouring country.

The special request has been made at the President’s level to ensure the supply of Covid vaccines from India, sources in the Nepal President’s office told IANS, adding that around one million people are waiting for their second shot of Covishied vaccine and their inoculation time is approaching fast.

Earlier, one million doses of Covishield were gifted by India, while Nepal purchased another two million doses at discounted rates. Out of these two million doses, the Serum Institute of India, which produces Covishiled, released one million doses to Nepal, but it has not sent the remaining one million doses which Nepal had procured from the institute at discounted rates.

“We need one million jabs from India as one million people, mostly the elderly and frontline workers who had received their first dose, are waiting for the second shot,” a senior Nepal government official told IANS.

Nepal has already paid Serum Institute of India for this one million jabs. Those in the second batch who received Covishiled have to get their second shots by the first week of June, as per the new guidelines.

As per the guidelines, individuals should get their second jab 12 to 16 weeks after receiving the first shot.

Nepal has also written separate diplomatic notes to India’s Ministry of External Affairs and SII to provide the one million doses, as people are waiting for them.

While expressing grief and sorrow over the loss of lives in India due to Covid-19, President Bhandari also offered to fight against the pandemic jointly with her India counterpart.

Bhandari also thanked Ram Nath Kovind for providing two million Covid vaccines to Nepal earlier, saying that only vaccines can take control of the pandemic.

The President also sought additional vaccines from India, Tika Dhakal, a communication expert at the President’s office, said.