KATHMANDU: The Nepal government has decided to procure four million COVID-19 vaccines manufactured by China's Sinopharm under a non-disclosure agreement.
However, the government has not disclosed the price of the vaccine. Since it is to be signed under a non-disclosure agreement, there is no provision of making public the rate of each dose, a senior Nepal government official said.
During a meeting of COVID Crisis Management Centre on Wednesday, Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli said the vaccines were expected to arrive by the end of June. Nepali media have speculated the price of the vaccines to be between $18 to $21 for two doses.
Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Raghubir Mahaseth confirmed the government's decision to buy the Chinese vaccines developed by Sinopharm which were earlier branded as Verocell. Nepal is currently using Verocell after China donated 1.8 million doses earlier as a grant assistance.
Similarly Nepal also received 1 million Covishield vaccines from India as a grant in January and procured another 2 million from the Serum Institute of India (SII) and paid the full money in advance.
Out of that 2 million COVID vaccines that were procured from SII, Nepal has already received one million vaccines on February 21. But the Himalayan nation could not get rest 1 million after India put a ban on vaccine export. The price of each dose of Covishield was $4.
The Indian Army also provided 1 lakh vaccines to its Nepalese counterpart earlier, while the country also received 348,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine provided under the COVAX facility on March 7.
"We are in talks with the World Bank to receive 5 million vaccines developed by Johnson & Johnson," Mahaseth said in the interview. "Since immunisation against COVID is our top most priority, we have asked the vaccine manufacturers to deliver the doese within 45 to 60 days. Nepal needs to inoculate its 72 per cent population out of the total 30 million." The World Bank has already pledged $75 million for Nepal to procure the COVID vaccines. (IANS)
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