India to provide one million doses of COVID vaccine


India will provide Nepal with one million doses of COVID vaccines under grant assistance and the first shipment of the AstraZeneca/Oxford University vaccine, manufactured locally by Serum Institute of India, will arrive tomorrow.

Ambassador of India to Nepal Vinay Mohan Kwatra made this announcement at a joint press conference held with Nepal’s Minister of Health and Population Hridayesh Tripathi at the Ministry of Health and Population here today. Kwatra said India’s cooperation with Nepal to fight the COVID-19 pandemic started from the very first day with the initial grant assistance of PPEs, testing kits, and ventilators.

“Nepal will be among the first few countries to receive these vaccines. You are all familiar with the fact that the rollout of vaccines in India started only on January 16, so vaccines coming within a week is effectively a parallel effort,” Kwatra said.

He said the vaccine cooperation between India and Nepal and arrival of Indian vaccines signified that India cared for people, friendly countries, and its neighbours.

“The vaccine itself is also a result of a strong base of vaccine production in India. I am sure you are aware that roughly 70 per cent of all vaccines of the world are effectively sourced from India,” Kwatra said and added that the joint effort of India and Nepal would probably signal the beginning of the end of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Kwatra said COVID vaccine cooperation was one of the important aspects of discussion between Nepal’s Foreign Minister Pradeep Kumar Gyawali and his Indian counterpart S Jaishankar.

He said vaccines were gifts from the government and people of India to the government and people of Nepal.

Quoting Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi — “India’s vaccine production and delivery capacity will be used for the benefit of all humanity” — Kwatra said India’s COVID cooperation effort was not inward looking but for the benefit of ‘our people and global community, particularly the neighbours’.

“As a result of that, and in continuation of our previous cooperation, India will provide one million doses of COVID vaccines,” the Indian Ambassador added.

He said the pledged vaccines would reach Nepal over a couple of days subject to flight logistics and other details.

Minister of Health and Population Hridayesh Tripathi, on behalf of the government and people of Nepal, thanked the Government of India for gifting one million doses of COVID vaccines. He said vaccines would be given first to frontline health workers, doctors, ambulance drivers, and security personnel.

Tripathi said it was a unique example of Nepal-India friendship.

He said Nepal had already completed all legal, economic, and administrative processes of importing the vaccines.

He said all preparations for the inoculation drive had already been made.