Govt to put AH1N1 vaccine supply on hold

KATHMANDU: The Ministry of Health and Population (MoHP) has decided to put on hold the supply of the much awaited Pandemic Influenza A (H1N1) vaccine by the World Health Organisation for six months.

Dr Yasobardhan Pradhan, director general, MoHP, said that they had already communicated with the World Health Organisation (WHO), the supplier of the vaccine, in this regard.

“The swine flu transmission is stable at present and we are requesting them to supply the vaccine before the winter season only” said Pradhan. The flu spreads quickly during winter, he added.

Nepal was to receive the vaccine by the first week of March. In the first phase, WHO has planned to send around two per cent - 550,000 doses - of the total allocated vaccine.

Dr Yasobardhan Pradhan further said that the World Bank has also put on hold its plan of setting up a BSL-2 laboratory. The laboratory will be the first of its kind in the country.

Pradhan added that after six months they will re-schedule the programme and will hold talks with the WHO authorities.

Dr Nirmal Kandel, national programme officer, communicable diseases surveillance and response unit, WHO said that they would appreciate the decision of the government and work accordingly.

The Ministry of Health and Population has also identified a target group for immunisation. The group includes health workers and their dependents, pregnant women, high-risk groups with co-morbid conditions, children under five years of age and elderly above 65 years of age are on the top priority.