KATHMANDU: In a major boost to its faltering vaccination drive against COVID-19, Nepal on Tuesday received more vaccines granted by China.
A Nepal Airlines plane carrying a batch of Chinese vaccine arrived in Kathmandu on Tuesday afternoon from Beijing, said Dim Prasad Poudel, Managing Director of the airline.
Meanwhile, the Himalaya Airlines, a Nepal-China joint venture based in Kathmandu, announced on the same day that it is bringing another batch of shots donated by China's Tibet Autonomous Region, the Xinhua news agency reported.
"The government of Nepal sincerely appreciates and thanks the government of the People's Republic of China and the Tibet Autonomous Region of China for providing the life-saving vaccines at this trying time," the Foreign Ministry of Nepal said in a press release.
It is the second time that Nepal has got Chinese COVID-19 vaccine in grant. The Himalayan country received a batch of Chinese vaccine in late March.
"Our priority is to give vaccine shots to people aged between 60-65 who were left out from the past vaccination drive," said Tara Nath Pokharel, Director at the Family Welfare Division of Nepal's Ministry of Health and Population. "Our aim is to start the vaccination in most districts with the newly arrived Chinese vaccine," said Pokharel.
Nepal has so far had only 2 per cent of its some 30 million citizens administered two shots, due to a lack of vaccines . The pandemic has revisited the country since early April and sickened some 8,000-9,000 people in most days in May. As of Tuesday, Nepal has reported a total of 566,587 coronavirus cases and 7,454 deaths, with 5,285 new infections and 68 fatalities logged in the past 24 hours. (IANS)