The second phase of vaccination drive against COVID-19 is all set to begin today with the government prioritizing staffers of various embassies and UN agencies along with journalists.

Though the government had estimated to inoculate 430,000 persons in the first phase, only 184,857 persons received the first dose of the vaccine throughout the country from 201 vaccination centers in 77 districts from January 27 to February 6.

Hence, the government is launching the second phase with the available surplus vaccines.

According to the Ministry of Health and Population, the priority list of recipients for the send phase of the vaccination drive was prepared on the basis of exposure to risk.

According to Spokesperson at the Health Ministry, Jageshwar Gautam, journalists will be vaccinated at the Civil Hospital in New Baneshwor while staffers of UN agencies will get the jab at Patan Hospital. Similarly, diplomatic expats and staffers of various international embassies will be administered the vaccine at Teaching Hospital, Maharaganj and Ganga Lal Hospital, Bansbari.

The vaccination drive will conclude on Friday.

The Health Ministry has stated that a press certificate issued by the Information Department under the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology is required for journalists to be eligible for the vaccine.

As many as 13,500 working journalists across the country currently hold the press certificate and are members of the Federation of Nepali Journalists.

Health workers, ambulance/hearse drivers, women health volunteers, sanitation workers, prison inmates, old age home care workers and staffers at the Tribhuwan International Airport were vaccinated in the first phase, which concluded on Saturday.

Nepal began its nationwide coronavirus vaccination drive after it received one million doses of Covishield vaccines, produced by the Serum Institute of India, as a grant from the Indian government on January 21.

The 10-day vaccination campaign had started on January 27 after the vaccines were transported to all seven provinces.

Many recipients were found reluctant to be inoculated in the first phase mostly due to the lack of proper communication and awareness drives regarding the vaccines’ safety from the government’s side.

The most common side effects of Covishield vaccines are dizziness, pain and swelling in the injected area, fever, and chills, which are all temporary and normal.