President Bidya Devi Bhandari on Wednesday communicated with her Indian and Chinese counterparts, making an appeal for vaccine access amid rampant shortage of Covid-19 jabs in the country.

President Bhandari wrote to her Indian counterpart President Ram Nath Kovind to help Nepal in regard to the interruption in supplies of COVID-19 vaccines.

She communicated to President Kovind via diplomatic channel, requesting him to take initiative to provide the vaccines.

Meanwhile, President Bhandari also thanked India for providing vaccines under India's Vaccine Maitri initiative and the COVAX facility. On Jan 2, Nepal had received one million doses from SII and also a total of 348,000 doses of COVISHIELD under the COVAX facility -- a partnership between CEPI, Gavi, UNICEF and WHO, on March 7.

Likewise, she held almost an hour long telephone conversation with Chinese President Xi Jinping. During the conversation, the president relayed to President Jinping that Nepal is looking forward to purchasing China manufactured vaccines for its people. She made an appeal to the Chinese government to make the vaccines available for procurement at the earliest possible.

The Chinese President has committed to taking initiatives to support its neighbour, a Shitwal Niwas official informed.

So far, China has provided 800,000 doses of Covid-19 jab in assistance to Nepal.

Earlier today, it was learnt that the COVAX facility had suggested Nepal to find an alternative to COVISHIELD vaccines given the inability expressed by Serum Institute of India to export vaccines amid a surge in demand for the same in domestic market.

On May 18, Serum Institute of India (SII) Chief Adar Poonawalla, to prioritise Indian requirements first, said that it would not export vaccines to Nepal, and other countries, for several months. The SII had clarified that there are no immediate plans to resume the exports, slimming hopes of Nepal to procure the jabs it had already paid for.