Storage facilities full to the brim with vaccines as the government fails to expedite inoculation campaign

There was a time when the government struggled to manage Covid-19 vaccines. Today, storage facilities are full of Covid-19 vaccines but the government struggles to inoculate people.

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Ashim Neupane

  • Read Time 2 min.

Kathmandu: There was a time when the government had a tough time managing Covid-19 vaccines. And when the vaccines arrived in Nepal, the government used to immediately inoculate people with the jabs.

The scenario has changed now. Nepal’s storage facilities are full of Covid-19 vaccines but the government has not been able to take them out from the storage and inoculate the people.

As of Wednesday, Nepal has over 16 million doses of different Covid-19 vaccines in storage facilities across the country. But, the government has only been able to inoculate just 150,000 people every day on an average, while the storage facilities are brimming with vaccines.

As the storage facilities are full, the government has already urged the vaccine providers, including the Covax facility, to delay the supply of jabs to Nepal.

If the government doesn’t expedite inoculation campaign, there would be a serious problem to manage storage facility, say officials.

Although the government said it has the capacity to inoculate 300,000 people every day, the number is half the claimed figure.

According to the Ministry of Health and Population (MoHP), Nepal has so far received 38.5 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines, majority from the Covax facility.

Currently, Nepal has five different Covid-19 vaccines—AstraZeneca, VeroCell, Johnson and Johnson, Moderna, and Pfizer—in the storage facilities.

“Nepal doesn’t have space for vaccine storage at the moment. The only option is to speed up the inoculation campaign,” an official at the Department of Health Services told Nepal Live Today, adding if the vaccines arrive to Nepal at this pace there will be a serious storage problem.

Officials at the Health Ministry said that Nepal has a limited number of syringes that resulted in a sluggish vaccination campaign. They say the arrival of seven million syringes is delayed.  

According to Surendra Chaurasiya, Chief of Logistic Management Section of Department of Health Services, the vaccination campaign has not been sluggish due to limited syringes. “At least five million syringes are coming to Nepal in a few days. Another nine million syringes are also in the pipeline to arrive in Nepal,” said Chaurasiya, adding the department has been dispatching syringes.

According to Samir Adhikari, joint spokesperson at MoHP, the government is preparing to expedite the inoculation campaign as there are enough vaccines in the storage facilities. “The government is unable to vaccinate all the people at once. Those in the priority list would be vaccinated as per the plan,” he said.