More than 208,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccines provided by the Government of Japan arrived in Kathmandu today.

The vaccines being provided to Nepal is part of the promised 1, 614,740 doses by Japan in grant assistance under the COVAX facility, a global initiative backed by the UN for equitable distribution of vaccines throughout the world.

According to the Ministry of Health and Population, the vaccines which arrived via Qatar Airways have been safely stored after a handing over ceremony at Tribhuvan International Airport.

In a twitter post, the Japanese Embassy here confirmed the arrival of the second batch of Japanese-made AstraZeneca vaccines. Earlier, nearly 850,000 doses of vaccines had arrived in the country. The remaining doses of vaccines will arrive in the country in the next few days, as per the ministry.

The AstraZeneca vaccines dispatched in the first phase are being provided to elderly people above 65 years who are awaiting the second dose of the same vaccine. Earlier, they were inoculated with the same vaccine produced and sold by India.

However, after India failed to send the second dose of vaccines, hundreds of thousands of elderly had been eagerly waiting to be inoculated.

The second batch of the vaccine that arrived today will be provided to the citizens of Province 1 and Province 2, said the ministry.

The government has claimed that more than 480,000 people have been inoculated after formation of the new government led by Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba, while the former government led by KP Sharma Oli had inoculated around 360,000 Nepalis. As of today, more than 3.83 million have taken the complete doses of vaccine, while 4.93 million Nepalis have been inoculated with the first dose.

The vaccination drive has been accelerated lately as the government has started inoculating people above 40 years, students of grades XI and XII along with university level students. People from various business backgrounds are also being inoculated.

Meanwhile, of the six million doses of the China-made VeroCell vaccine, over 1.6 million doses have arrived in Kathmandu in the past few days. The government has expressed confidence that it will be able to inoculate all the Nepali citizens.

A version of this article appears in the print on August 22 2021, of The Himalayan Times.