1.66 million of the four million doses of Moderna vaccines financed by the World Bank arrived in Nepal on Monday.

It has been learnt that the remaining doses will be delivered shortly. Nepal will deploy these vaccines for adolescents 12-17 years to safeguard them from the health impacts of COVID-19.

Courtesy: The World Bank
Courtesy: The World Bank

The vaccines, procured under the COVAX cost-share option, comply with World Bank's Vaccine Approval Criteria for financing and are certified as safe and effective for children as young as 12 years of age by the European Medicines Agency and the UK's Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency.

"Nepal was the second country globally to finalize procurement of vaccines through the COVAX cost-share scheme. The supply of Moderna vaccines is timely for Nepal, as we expand our vaccine coverage to adolescents 12-17 years of age," said Birodh Khatiwada, Minister of Health and Population.

"The Government is committed to vaccinating the entire eligible population by mid-April 2022 and the World Bank-financed Moderna vaccines will be instrumental in helping Nepal achieve its COVID-19 vaccination goal," added Khatiwada.

In line with the recommendations of the National Immunization Advisory Committee and the National Immunization Committee, the Moderna vaccines will be administered to adolescent populations through immunization sites set up in schools, as well as sites to reach out-of-school adolescent populations.

The World Bank also approved a second round of additional financing in the amount of $18 million on January 12, 2022, bringing its cumulative COVID-19 health response financing to $122 million to support Nepal in scaling-up its vaccination efforts to cover its additional eligible populations.

This Second Additional Financing and the COVID-19 Emergency Response and Health Systems Preparedness (CERHSP) aim to prevent, detect, and respond to the threat posed by COVID‐19 and strengthen the systems for public health preparedness in Nepal.

"I am very pleased that the World Bank has been able to help make safe and effective vaccines available for Nepal's adolescent and youth populations. This is critical since Nepal's children have already missed almost two years of in-person schooling because of the pandemic," said Faris Hadad-Zervos, World Bank Country Director for Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka.

"I am hopeful that these vaccines will help increase health and protection of children in the classrooms and support continued learning to make up the learning lost due to COVID-19," he added.