Home Nepal stock Nepal struggles to step up Covid vaccination amid Omicron threat

Nepal struggles to step up Covid vaccination amid Omicron threat

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As the threat of the new Omicron Covid-19 variant looms, Nepal struggles to vaccinate its targeted population against the virus.

Even though the South Asian country has received a steady supply of vaccines in recent months, it is now struggling to store them and immunize more of the population due to lack of adequate storage capacity and resources. human needed, the Xinhua News Agency said, citing officials as saying.

To date, 32.9% of Nepal’s estimated population of 30 million have been fully immunized, according to the Ministry of Health and Population.

“The level of immunization is still low amid the Omicron threat,” Sher Bahadur Pun, chief medical officer of the Sukraraj Tropical and Infectious Diseases Hospital, based in Kathmandu, told Xinhua.

“I discovered that some elderly people had not been vaccinated because they refused to queue at vaccination centers. Some people are still not aware of the importance of vaccines against the pandemic”, a- he declared.

Nepalese health officials have acknowledged that the vaccination rate is still low and they are trying to increase coverage.

“The World Health Organization has advised us to increase the proportion of people fully vaccinated to 40% of the total population by December and we are reaching near that level,” said Bibek Kumar Lal, director of the division. from family welfare to the Ministry of Health. Health services.

“We also rolled out a vaccination campaign for people aged 12 to 17 after first vaccinating people aged 18 and over.”

Nepal has so far identified three cases of Omicron and despite the potential threat, the Himalayan nation cannot double or triple the vaccination rate anytime soon, officials said.

“We have vaccinated around 250,000 people daily. Sometimes we have vaccinated up to 350,000 people in recent days,” said Sagar Dahal, head of the country’s national immunization program.

“In the past, we vaccinated a maximum of 300,000 people per day.

The government is making efforts to expand the vaccination campaign which began in late January, he said.

“But we are having difficulty in expanding the vaccination campaign due to the lack of qualified human resources and logistics,” he said, adding that it also takes time to raise awareness and create momentum for the campaign. countryside.

“Due to the delayed supply of syringes, vaccination campaigns have been affected in some districts,” Lal said.

“On Thursday (December 23), we received a supply of five million syringes, which will be enough for us to carry out a vaccination campaign for a few weeks. Another 60 million are also in preparation.”

Since the start of the pandemic in early 2020, Nepal has recorded a total of 827,271 Covid cases and 11,585 deaths.

In recent months, the country has reported new daily cases mainly in 200-300 and new deaths mainly in single digits.

Contrary to these difficult times, Nepal currently has an adequate supply of vaccines and the government aims to vaccinate the entire population by mid-April next year.

As of Sunday, the country had received 39.2 million doses of the vaccine, and an additional 20 million should be provided by February of next year, according to the health ministry.

The country has requested delayed shipments due to a lack of sufficient refrigeration facilities.

“We have a stock of around 9 million doses of vaccine and the storage facility is already exhausted,” Dahal said.

According to the official, the existing storage capacity can only accommodate 20 million additional vaccines.

“We have therefore asked companies wishing to provide additional vaccines to Nepal to delay shipments until February,” he added.

–IANS

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(Only the title and image of this report may have been reworked by Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is automatically generated from a syndicated feed.)


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