The first batch of about 1.6 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccines provided by the Government of Japan to Nepal through the COVAX facility arrived in Kathmandu on Saturday.

Ambassador of Japan to Nepal, Kikuta Yutaka, handed over the vaccines to the Minister of State for Health and Population Umesh Shrestha at the Tribhuvan International Airport.

According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the second batch of vaccines will arrive in Kathmandu today evening.

At the handover ceremony, Ambassador Kikuta said, “The Government of Japan strongly supports the vaccination campaign unveiled by the Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba administration, which is necessary for the progress of post-COVID Nepali society and its economic recovery,” he said.

Similarly, Bhutan had delivered 230,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine under a reciprocity condition on Friday last week. Bhutan has vaccinated all its eligible citizens and has given its surplus vaccines to Nepal.

The Japanese-made AstraZeneca COVID vaccines as well as those received from Bhutan will be administered to senior citizens who are waiting for second shots of vaccines of this group.

Over 1.4 million people aged 65 and above had received their first doses of Covishield, the India-made AstraZeneca type vaccine, in the second week of March.

Vaccines remaining after being administered to elderlies will be given to patients suffering from various diseases and foreign employment aspirants, according to the Ministry of Health and Population.

People going abroad for study and other purposes, those who have to undergo kidney dialysis, people who have undergone organ transplantation and cancer patients will be prioritized for inoculation.

Nepal so far has received 10,526,270 doses of vaccine from various sources.

As of Saturday, 4,442,622 people (around 14.8 percent) have received their first doses and 2,359,793 people (7.86 percent) have been fully vaccinated in Nepal.