The Nepali government has decided to administer the COVID-19 vaccine donated by China on Wednesday amid a resurgence of novel coronavirus cases in the country, an official from the Ministry of Health and Population said.
On March 29, a batch of Chinese COVID-19 vaccines developed by Sinopharm was delivered to Nepal.
"The Chinese vaccine will be inoculated among people starting from Wednesday," Jageshwor Gautam, spokesperson for the health ministry, told a press conference.
"Those involved in essential services, students studying in China under the Chinese government scholarship but are currently stuck in Nepal due to pandemic, Nepali students preparing to leave for China for higher studies and people involved in cross-border trade between Nepal and China will be inoculated with the Chinese vaccine."
According to the ministry, essential workers include the people who are working in postal and telephone services, water supply and distribution, hotels and restaurant, public transportation services, electricity supply, storage and transportation of consumer goods, sales and distribution of medicines and the health workers who had missed out in the first phase of the vaccination drive that began on January 27.
Gautam said the Chinese vaccines would be administered at designated hospitals in Kathmandu Valley.
The Nepali government is using Chinese vaccines at a time when the number of COVID-19 cases has started to rise in the country, which reported 260 cases on Tuesday. In early March, the cases had gone down below 50 per day.
Nepal has so far inoculated over 1.7 million people in two phases, according to the Ministry of Health and Population.
On February 17, the Nepali Department of Drug Administration approved the vaccine developed by China's Beijing Institute of Biological Products Co. Ltd. under Sinopharm for emergency use.