India donates one million doses of COVID-19 vaccine to Nepal

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India is sending 1 million COVID-19 Vaccines to Nepal – enough to cover all the health workers

Today Nepal has received its first shipment of COVID-19 Vaccine

In an unexpected move of goodwill India has given Nepal its first shipment of COVID-19 vaccine. It arrived in the country on Thursday and will be used to vaccinate all of Nepal’s health and front line staff.

The vaccine is called Covishield and is the same vaccine developed by Astrazeneca and the University of Oxford that the UK is currently using. It is being mass produced under license by the Serum Institute of India.

Nepal asks for 4 million more doses.

Covishield from India will be the first COVID-19 vaccine to arrive in Nepal.

In another positive move it seems Nepal officials flew to India last week to ask for the vaccine which India is mass producing. Nepal has asked to purchase 4 million more doses. There’s been no reply from India yet nor are the terms known.

What is known is that India will be supplying Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Myanmar, and the Seychelles from January 20.

Nepal hopes to have the donated vaccine distributed within 10 days.

Covishield can be kept at refrigerator temperature

A vial of Covishield
A vial of Covishield

Just over a month ago I wrote about when Nepal will be getting a vaccine. In the article I wrote that the Oxford-Astrazeneca vaccine would be the best choice for Nepal as it can be kept at refrigerator temperatures and is budget friendly compared to other vaccines. In securing the Oxford-Astrazeneca vaccine (Covishield) from India it’s finally a positive move.

While many in Nepal are trying to put a political take on this, the reality is that India acquired the license and is mass producing the vaccine not just for Nepal but for itself and other nations.  It simply makes sense to use this vaccine rather than rely on expensive -70 degree stored vaccines, or a Chinese vaccine that has had some leaks saying it is only 50.4% effective.  Moreover, nobody yet knows any detailed scientific reports about the Chinese or Russian vaccines.

The current situation in Nepal

If you were to walk down a street in Kathmandu today you’ll only notice a few things different compared to normal. No tourists and many closed shops. The mantra from many is that the virus not effecting Nepali people compared to others. The reality is that testing systems are not as effective compared to other nations and we don’t know about the COVID-19 variants which have aided in its spread elsewhere.

Hopefully Nepal can begin a successful vaccination program while international lockdowns continue thereby preventing any highly contagious strains entering the country. All we’ll have to do then is listen to several years of Nepali “stories” saying how they are “stronger” and “immune”.

In all cases, this is positive news at a time when we all need it!


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18 Replies to “India donates one million doses of COVID-19 vaccine to Nepal”

  1. It’s updates like this that cheer me up. Moving forward. Getting out of the trouble we were in. Thanks for this!

  2. India to the rescue of many countries it seems. They’ll take the lead over many EU countries it seems. USA already vaccinated 17 million!

  3. Hi Dave,

    thanks for your reporting as always, I always appreciate your articles.
    The topic of Covid is not an easy one. We all are easily swayed by massmedia and what our ‘well-meaning’ governments have in the sleeve for us.
    First of all, I don’t deny there is a virus.
    Many countries around the world followed the China’s lockdown recommendations endorsed by WHO.
    1 year down the road, we still don’t know (are not being told) how these measures are helping.
    There have been reports of existing inexpensive medicine like ivermectin that allegedly helped the covid patients. Understandably Big Pharma and Big Media are not too interested to circulate those news.
    Now the whole narrative has moved to “vaccine has arrived and is your silver bullet out of this mess”.
    If people in Nepal don’t have the ever increasing number of ‘cases’ in the face every single day, I would argue it’s not necessarily a bad thing.
    As we know, stress decreases body’s immunity so being confronted with the news about the virus spreading everywhere definitely does not help our individual natural immunity. However that is something that statistician or health departments cannot measure.

    1. Hi Petr

      At this stage, with so many industries closed COVID-19 topics are life critical to many people outside of health alone. I’m talking to people daily in Nepal with zero income or government support. I’m sure the same is true in many places in the world. I’ll put my own hand up and say that I’m also not earning. Getting the world back on its feet is incredibly important otherwise there will be huge issues in the coming year – Lesotho in Africa is one such recent example with drastic food shortages due to border closures.

      At the same time, I do agree that this virus has a lot of media and big pharmaceutical companies behind it. I also think the media in general has taken a huge nosedive over the past five years. I hear people misquoting and speculating constantly which then spreads a mistruth across social media like wildfire.

      It’s worrying times in many regards. For many, there’s no choice but to get a vaccine. Airlines are already saying this. Likewise people I know who work for certain large organizations have been told to take the vaccine, or they don’t have a job.

      Historic times are what we are living in! I do very much agree with you about stress playing an important part in the immune system. I’m also used to wearing a mask in Nepal constantly due to dust etc. The number of colds etc. I get has drastically dropped since doing so well over a decade ago. An important part of life is learning about how things we didn’t know before can help today.

      I’m using these lockdowns and quarantines to try and learn more every day. If anything, all this has is reaffirmation to make the most of out time! Thanks for continuing to read here!

  4. This is a good thing! So many people arguing over if it’s needed or not but the whole world in a lockdown. What choice is there?

    Just like measles or polio we need to get rid of this so we can have a non-lockdown life again!!

    1. I do think this is a good thing. It’s unknown if other COVID*`19 variants are widespread in Nepal or not. If they are not, then something worse could hit the country in the coming months. Hopefully if it can the majority vaccinated the worst will be prevented.

  5. thanks for this valuable information thanks once again you are better than any other blogger

  6. A million doses is a start. Hoping other countries begin to contribute soon as well.

    I just got off the phone with the consulate in Washington, DC. They confirmed that travelers do have to self quarantine for 7 days upon arrival in KTM. This requirement remains, even though we must also present a negative Covid test within 72 hours prior of travel.

    I certainly don’t want to bring the virus to Nepal, as it appears the numbers are diminishing. However, I have to wonder how many travelers are actually doing the self-quarantine. It seems easy to skirt and impossible to enforce.

    Ultimately Nepal needs people to pump money into the economy. But safety is no small matter. I wonder what your thoughts are, Dave.

    1. Hi Ryan,

      Apparently different consulates have different conditions – just to make life more complicated. But yes, I would advise anyone going to be prepared for at least 7 days of quarantine on arrival. The reality on the ground is that virtually nobody is checking on this. Having a negative test before arriving is being checked at the airport. But the final test after 5 days is apparently not being chased up.

      At the moment there is a lot of political demonstrations in the country and large groups gathering. That seems to be the main focus. Sadly there’s a mentality that Nepali are “immune” to COVID-19. Considering the worldwide lockdowns, lack of accurate testing on the ground, then I would say they’ve escaped the current new variants. The day to day economy is hammered though, with many villages on trekking routes living off savings. There’s also many restaurants, shops and hotels closing down every week.

      My own thoughts are that there will be a second wave of COVID-19 to hit Nepal. But, unlike Europe etc Nepal may have enough people vaccinated by then to stop any major incidents. They are opening up though, so I’m not sure if it’s going to work out that way. There are also a lot of Chinese visiting Nepal at the moment. Finally, there’s a surprising number of “diplomats”, business travelers, and NGO workers coming in and out of the country. So in terms of bringing in the virus, then it’s already there.

      If you are vaccinated, I’d be all for visiting and I’d be staying away from big companies, and trying to get your visitors cash directly into the small business who need it the most.

      1. Thanks for your thoughts, Dave. Your blog is an invaluable platform and a tremendous resource both for travelers and those of us who take a keen interest in all things Nepal. In the best of times the influx of foreign cash into the economy is so crucial for so many people. It seems only logical that the longer this goes, the more dire and critical the wellbeing of a lot of people will become.

        1. Thanks for the kind words Ryan. And for reading here.

          Yes, Nepal is definitely experiencing something different during this pandemic. In the past it could often reach out for help, this time the whole world is trying to help itself. So Nepal has to wade through this itself. Unfortunately its also still in quite a state politically at the moment. The good news is that somehow, it seems the new strains of virus have not taken hold in the country as of yet.

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