Nepal foreign minister raises delay in delivery of Made in India vaccines
Nepal foreign minister Pradeep Gyawali on Friday raised the issue of delay in delivery of a million doses of Made in India Covid-19 vaccines during a phone conversation with his Indian counterpart S Jaishankar.
Kathmandu was expecting the million doses of Covishield vaccine contracted from the Serum Institute of India (SII) last month, and the delay in delivery has affected the roll-out of the second phase of the neighbouring country’s inoculation drive, Nepali officials have said.
In a separate development, Iran, too, raised the need to expedite the delivery of Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin doses that it has already paid for. The issue figured in a set of tweets from the Iranian embassy.
India’s decision to calibrate vaccine exports to cope with a surge in domestic infections and the expansion of its inoculation programme has affected several nations, including Nepal, the UK, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, South Korea, Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam.
Nepal signed an agreement with SII for two million doses, half of which were supplied and used for the first phase of the national inoculation drive. The delay in delivering the second million doses has left people waiting for more than six weeks for a second jab, people familiar with developments said on condition of anonymity.
According to a readout from Nepal’s foreign ministry, Gyawali requested Jaishankar “for necessary facilitation for the supply of vaccines for Nepal to continue administering the second dose of vaccination for people at highest risk”.
Jaishankar assured Gyawali of “continued support to Nepal in its fight against the pandemic, including through the supply of vaccines”, the readout said.
There was no official word on the conversation from the Indian side. Nepal has already made 80% of the payment for the doses and the remaining amount will be paid when the consignment moves out of SII’s facilities in Pune, the people said.
The Iranian embassy said in a tweet on purchase of vaccines from India that Tehran conveyed its needs to Indian government and Bharat Biotech.
Following this, Iran had received the first consignment of 125,000 doses.