While a large portion of the population is still deprived of the first dose of vaccine against COVID-19, influential people and those with access to power have been going for booster doses in Kathmandu.
Though the government has yet to make any decision regarding booster dose, authorities have recommended administering booster dose to immunocompromised elderlies.
As various hospitals in the Kathmandu Valley are currently administering AstraZeneca, Vero Cell and Pfizer vaccines, fully vaccinated people with access are getting the jabs under the pretext that it is their first dose.
Healthcare workers, politicians, bureaucrats, and their near ones are among those going for booster shots. While some are going for the vaccine type they had received earlier, others are trying the ‘mix and match’ strategy.
A 30-year-old woman, who was in queue for her booster shot at the Bir Hospital, said she had received both doses of Vero Cell six months ago. “As developed nations are going for booster shots, I thought it would be apt for me to get the third dose. My brother is also here with me. He had earlier received two doses of AstraZeneca and is now getting Vero Cell as booster,” she said.
As of Saturday, 37.1 percent of the total population have been vaccinated with one dose and 30.4 percent have been fully vaccinated in Nepal.
A government official claimed that health workers at some of the Capital’s major hospitals were getting booster doses stating that they had not received a second dose. Joint Spokesperson at the Ministry of Health and population Dr. Sameer Kumar Adhikari, on the other hand, said that he was not aware of anyone taking booster dose.
According to Dr. Adhikari, the government has been providing around 200,000 doses of vaccine on a daily basis. Among the target group, 56.5 per cent people have received their first dose while 46.4 per cent have been fully vaccinated, informed Dr. Adhikari.
He also informed that a total of 29,453,730 doses of the vaccines have arrived in Nepal to date.
Health experts say that a booster dose can be taken six or more months after getting the second dose. Various low- and middle-income countries are already using vaccine combinations aka the ‘mix and match’ strategy to help manage stockpiles and deal with vaccine shortages.