Health Minister Tripathi refutes allegations of irregularities in Covid-19 vaccine procurement

Minister for Health Hridayesh Tripathi.

NL Today

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Kathmandu: Refuting media reports of irregularities in Covid-19 vaccine procurement, Minister for Health Hridayesh Tripathi has claimed that the government has not provided even a penny in commission to anyone.

At a virtual press meet on Tuesday afternoon, Health Minister Tripathi clarified that the government is not involved in wrongdoings while procuring Covishield vaccines from the Serum Institute of India. He further challenged to speak only after getting a detailed knowledge of the procurement process.

“The alleged irregularities were even discussed in the Parliament. But, no one is able to present proof. The government purchased two million doses of vaccines from India at USD four per dose through government to government (G2G) modality. Get your facts right and proof ready before accusing the government,” said Minister Tripathi.

Minister Tripathi said that government is ready to purchase more than 10 million doses of vaccine if someone is ready to provide at a rate lower than USD four.

The government of Nepal had purchased two million doses of vaccine from India, but only a million doses have arrived.

When asked why the government failed to bring additional one million doses from India, Minster Tripathi said, “The delivery has been delayed as the second wave infections have crippled India. A fire at the Institute also delayed the process.”

The government of Nepal had purchased two million doses of vaccine from India, but only a million doses have arrived.

Health Minister Tripathi added the government was holding talks with other countries as well for procuring vaccines.

“The government is also in talks with the United States, the United Kingdom and Russia to purchase vaccines,” Minister Tripathi said, adding that there has been a delay in bringing vaccines through COVAX facility as the World Health Organization also purchases the vaccine from Serum Institute of India.

Meanwhile, the Health Ministry the number of Covid-19 patients needing oxygen support has increased in the second wave.

“The total production of oxygen in the Kathmandu Valley is 8,000 cylinders every day, while the demand has been more than 12,000 cylinders. The government is making necessary arrangements to ease the supply of oxygen,” said Dr Samir Adhikari, Joint Spokesperson at the Ministry.