Nepal urgently needs at least 1.6 million doses of AstraZeneca’s (AZN.L) COVID-19 vaccine to deliver a second injection as the Himalayan country sees an increase in the number of new coronavirus cases.
“People who have already received the first dose will be in difficulty if they do not receive their second dose within the allotted time,” said Samir Adhikari, a senior official at the Ministry of Health and Population in the capital Kathmandu.
Prime Minister KPSharma Oli on Monday urged foreign donors to provide vaccines and critical care drugs to avoid the collapse of the creaky health infrastructure in the small country.
Nepal, stuck between China and India, has already vaccinated more than two million people with the AstraZeneca vaccine provided by India and Chinese Sinopharm.
But authorities were forced to suspend the vaccination program last month after the country failed to secure further vaccine shipments from India and China.
“I would like to ask our neighbors, friendly countries and international organizations to help us with vaccines and critical care drugs… to support the ongoing efforts to fight the pandemic,” Oli said in a televised speech.
Oli said officials were in contact with China, Russia and other manufacturers to urgently obtain vaccines.
Oli, who has been criticized for doing little to contain the pandemic, said vaccines and critical care drugs are “global goods” and everyone should have access to them.
Nepal’s COVID-19 cases increased by 7,388 and deaths by 37 on Monday, the highest peak in 24 hours since the start of the pandemic. Nepal has recorded a total of 343,418 cases and 3,362 deaths, according to official data.
Crying relatives offered their final respects to loved ones as cremation workers lifted bodies for open-air cremation on the bank of the Bagmati River near the Pashupatinath Temple, Kathmandu’s largest Hindu shrine.
Crematoriums say they were stretched as the flow of corpses had increased with the recent spike in deaths.
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