The United States is shipping 1.5 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) anti-COVID vaccine to Nepal. According to the Foreign Advisor to Prime Minister K.P. Oli, Rajan Bhattarai, Johnson & Johnson’s 1.5 million dose vaccine provided by the United States to Nepal will arrive in Kathmandu on Monday.

The vaccine, provided by the United States under the COVAX program, could be administered to 1.5 million people as the J&J is a single dose vaccine.

Similarly, Nepali Ambassador to the United States Dr Yuvaraj Khatiwada wrote on Twitter that the White House had provided 1.5 million doses of vaccines at the request of Nepali President Bidhya Devi Bhandari to US President Joe Biden.

Tweeting about the vaccine, US Ambassador Randy Berry said it was a happy moment for the 73-year partnership between Nepal and the United States. He said, “America is always with Nepalis and will continue to work to improve the living standards of Nepal.”

The shipment is a part of the Biden administration’s pledge to share an initial batch of 80 million U.S.-made vaccines globally amid concern about the wide disparity in vaccination rates between advanced and developing countries.

International Monetary Fund chief Kristalina Georgieva on Wednesday urged the United States, China and other Group of 20 major economies, whose finance officials are meeting in Venice this weekend, to accelerate access to vaccines around the world.

She warned of a worsening two-track recovery that threatened to leave developing countries far behind. Providing faster access to vaccinations could potentially save more than half a million lives in the next six months alone, she said.

Although the government has not explicitly said who will be prioritised with the J&J vaccines, media reports have suggested that migrant workers who are stranded in Nepal due to the unavailability of vaccines could be prioritised.

After several countries have stipulated compulsory vaccines as a prerequisite for migrant workers to enter their countries, hundreds of thousands of migrant workers are reportedly stranded in Nepal due to unavailability of the same.