Team Europe delivers over 1.5 million COVID-19 vaccines to Nepal

'The vaccine support from Austria, Czech Republic, France, Greece and Italy will contribute to Nepal’s efforts to continue vaccinating people across the country.'

NL Today

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Kathmandu: Nepal has received over 1.5 million doses of Pfizer-BioNTech’s bivalent COVID-19 vaccines donated by the governments of Austria, the Czech Republic, France, Greece and Italy through the COVAX Facility. Nona Deprez, Ambassador and Head of the Delegation of European Union to Nepal, handed over the vaccines to Dr Roshan Pokharel, Secretary of Ministry of Health and Population at the Ministry on Wednesday in the presence of Honorary Consul of Austria Rajesh Babu Shrestha, Honorary Consul of Greece Bikram Pandey, Consul General of Italy Pratima Rana Pande, representative of Honorary Consul of Czech Republic, Mandira Khadgi, UNICEF Representative to Nepal Usha Mishra and Public Health Administrator at WHO Nepal Dr Md Khurshid Alam Hyder.

“The EU and Team Europe are a major contributor to the COVAX facility that has done a commendable job in distributing vaccines to different countries around the world. The present donation of vaccines to Nepal under COVAX has come at an appropriate time when the number of daily infections seem to be rising steadily. We hope the vaccines will safeguard the people against COVID, the risk of which is not completely over,” said Nona Deprez. 

The donation includes 400,320 doses from Austria, 362,880 doses from the Czech Republic, 195,840 doses from France, 348,480 doses from Greece and 195,840 doses from Italy bringing the total number of COVID-19 vaccines donated to Nepal by EU member states to over 8.4 million. France and Italy have previously donated 685,400 and 663,600 doses of COVID-19 vaccines to Nepal respectively.

Nepal was among the first countries in the world to have launched COVID-19 vaccination efforts in January 2021. So far, 83.1 percent of the total population has been vaccinated against COVID-19, with 9,418,479 having received booster shots (until 28 March 2023). The nation is currently experiencing a rise in the number of daily COVID-19 cases.

“Given the increasing number of daily COVID-19 cases in the country, the Government of Nepal is committed to continuing COVID-19 vaccinations. The timely and generous support from the EU member states is critical in strengthening our vaccination campaign,” said Dr Pokhrel.

On the occasion, French Ambassador Gilles Bourbao stressed on the need and the efficiency of multilateral solutions in order to combat global problems. Ambassador Bourbao remarked: “In the fight against COVID-19 pandemic, France has advocated and continues to work for equitable access to the vaccine, which we consider a global public good.” “As the pandemic is not over yet, we are continuing this action of solidarity,” he said.

UNICEF Representative to Nepal Usha Mishra said that UNICEF is committed to continue its support to facilitate COVID-19 vaccine delivery to Nepal through COVAX and getting those vaccines into people’s arms, leaving no one behind. “Including this latest dose-sharing from the EU member states, we have delivered over 44.8 million donated vaccines, in addition to the almost 10 million cost-sharing doses between the Asian Development Bank and the World Bank financing,” said Mishra. “UNICEF is also working with the Government of Nepal to raise awareness of and trust in the COVID vaccines and engage communities to promote vaccine uptake.”