Nepal is preparing to send technical details to the concerned agencies to get timely COVID-19 vaccines at a concessional rate under the COVAX facility.

The government has begun preparations after COVAX asked 172 affiliated countries to send technical information related to import of the vaccines.

According to the Ministry of Health, final preparations are underway to provide COVAX with technical information on the status and operation of cold chain for storage of vaccines in Nepal.

COVAX is one of three pillars of the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, which was launched in April by the World Health Organization (WHO), the European Commission and France in response to this pandemic with the aim of providing innovative and equitable access to COVID-19 diagnostics, treatments and vaccines.

It is the only global initiative that is working with governments and manufacturers to ensure COVID-19 vaccines are available worldwide to both higher-income and lower-income countries. COVAX is also supporting the building of manufacturing capabilities, and buying supply, ahead of time so that 2 billion doses can be fairly distributed by the end of 2021.

Of the 92 low- and middle-income economies that are eligible to be supported by COVAX, Nepal falls in the low-income country category. According to UNICEF, bids have been invited from vaccine developers for the supply of at least 2 billion vaccines under the COVAX facility.

The management of the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI) plans to supply vaccines under COVAX facility. According to GAVI, there are currently more than 170 candidate vaccines in development, but the vast majority of these efforts are likely to fail.

Similarly, 21 brands of vaccines are being tested on healthy youths under the first phase trial and 13 vaccines are being tested on a large group of people under the second phase trial. A final international test is being conducted to see the effects of the 10 vaccine brands.

So far no vaccine has been approved and licensed for general use.

COVAX will provide vaccines at a concessional rate to 20 percent of the country’s population, and a single dose of the vaccine is said to can cost between $1.6 and $2.