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Nepal to buy 2 mn covid vaccines from SII at reduced rates

Nepal to buy SII vaccine at reduced cost (IANS)

The Nepal cabinet has approved releasing advance payment for two million doses of Covid-19 vaccine from the Serum Institute of India (SII) at subsidised rates. The Himalayan country will make a down payment of 80 per cent to the SII for procuring the high value dose.

The Kathmandu Post quoted Nepal's Health Minister Hrydesh Tripathi as saying: "We have secured the vaccines at $4 per dose." The cost of the two million doses will be approximately Nepali Rs 936 million, of which the down payment will be Nepali Rs 748.8 million.

Nepal had been in talks with SII for the vaccines but could not procure these earlier as the government's policy does not allow for advance payments. Instead, it allows for open bidding for buying items worth over Nepali Rs two million. Now, with the cabinet approval, it will go ahead and procure the vaccines directly from SII.

Reportedly, India helped in getting the discounted rates for Nepal.  

Nepal started its vaccination campaign on January 27 after it received one million doses of the Covishield vaccine from India on a grant. It prefers this vaccine owing to ease of storage and transportation.

Currently Nepal is immunising health workers, sanitation workers, ambulance drivers, journalists and staff at diplomatic agencies. It has also taken a decision to provide these vaccines free of cost to its people.

Nepal will also receive 2,256,000 doses of the Covid-19 vaccine by the end of this month through the World Health Organisation’s COVAX facility. It has also been promised 5 lakh doses by China, but those have not been cleared by Nepal's drug regulating authority – the Department of Drug Administrator.