The government said that it had started work to provide COVID-19 vaccination to the entire population above 18 years of age in the country by mid-December.

The government has been inoculating people above 18 years of age, who haven't got the jab yet. Until now, the government has been providing vaccines to specific age groups.

But, now onwards people of any age group can get the vaccine. The government has also prepared to provide vaccine on a regular basis through vaccination centres set up at places where people's movement is high.

Such centres will be set up with the support of local levels across the country.

Dr Sameer Kumar Adhikari, joint-spokesperson for the Ministry of Health and Population, said that since vaccine supply had become regular in the country, inoculating all above 18 years was now possible within a month.

"Moreover, we are now targeting the population above 12 years of age for the vaccination, as the population seems lesser than we had predicted."

Adhikari told THT that the government had done its homework, keeping in mind that there were around 30 million population inside the country. "But, as we started providing the vaccine we realised that only around 20 million people were inside the country, as a large number of the population was staying or working abroad."

If the national population was around 20 million, the current vaccination drive could even cover the population above 12 years of age as per the government. But for that the vaccines should keep coming inside the country as demanded by the government and through support from various donor agencies and countries.

The MoHP has estimated that the country's population is around 30.378 million, as per the data provided by the Central Bureau of Statistics. If the same population resides in the country, the government has already inoculated approximately 30 per cent of the population with a single dose of the vaccine, while 26 per cent have taken two doses of vaccine.

With this, the government has distributed above 17 million vaccines.

Meanwhile, people above 18 years residing in Kathmandu district are regularly being inoculated with Vero Cell and AstraZeneca vaccine at five vaccination centres in Kathmandu. The government has also appealed to all adults to get vaccinated through such centres.

Also, youths between 12 to 18 years of age and people with chronic illness are getting Pfizer vaccines at 24 hospitals in the country.

A version of this article appears in the print on November 23, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.