Govt fails to ensure fair distribution of vaccines across provinces

BP Aryal

  • Read Time 2 min.

Kathmandu: It has come to light that the government has failed to ensure a fair distribution of Covid-19 vaccines to provinces against population ratio.

According to the Department of Health Services (DoHS), the government received a total of 4,248,000 doses of vaccines including 2,448,000 AstraZeneca Covishield and 1,800,000 Chinese Vero Cell till July 4. Of total doses, the government purchased one million Covishield doses from India while the remaining doses were received under grants.

Out of total received doses, 100,000 doses were given to Nepal Army, say the government sources. There are over 100,000 health workers across the country and the government had prioritized frontline workers for immunization.

Distribution of Covid-19 vaccines

ProvincePopulationCovishieldVerocell
Province 14,534,943307,18670,263
Province 25,404,145320,53269,783
Bagmati5,529,452421,882468,426
Gandaki2,413,907187,974301,870
Lumbini4,891,025278,476703,892
Karnali1,169,515170,32822,570
Sudurpaschim2,552,517205,50641,217

As per the available records, the distribution of vaccines does not look rational as compared to the ratio of population. The government had launched vaccination campaign in January. However, the government worked giving priority on the basis of provincial governments in line with the central government.

The government has no target plan to immunize its people against Covid-19 while many countries have already published their target schedule.

The officials at the Ministry of Health and Population (MoHP) said that they were uncertain about it.

When asked Dr Krishna Prasad Paudel, Spokesperson of the MoHP, he passed the bucks to the Family Welfare Division (FWD) under the DoHS. The FWD officials again passed the buck to the Vaccine Unit under the DoHS.

Dr Jhalak Sharma Gautam, Chief of the Vaccine Unit again referred to the FWD for detail information about vaccination and its plan.

According to the fiscal budget announced for 2021-22, Rs 122.77 billion was allocated for the MoHP out of total fiscal budget of Rs 1.647 trillion. Of Rs 122.77 billion, the government has planned to purchase health kits and medical equipment of Rs 4 billion while Rs 26.55 billion has been allocated to buy Covid-19 vaccines.

BP Aryal is a freelance journalist. This news is based on a fellowship program.

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