As of Saturday, about 5 percent of the total population in Nepal has been vaccinated against COVID-19. In the second phase of the campaign, senior citizens above 65 years of age participated enthusiastically in getting the vaccine.

Under the second phase, as many as 1,039,659 people were vaccinated as of Saturday.

According to Dr Jhalak Sharma Gautam, Head of the Child Health and Vaccination Department, a total 1,478,538 people have been vaccinated across country, which is 4.9 percent of the total population.

The total number of people over the age of 65 in the country is about 1,792,000.

“India has so far vaccinated about 2 per cent of the population whereas we have vaccinated about 5 per cent,” said Dr Gautam.

“Though people were hesitant to participate in the first phase of the vaccination drive, the number of people receiving the jab in the second phase is remarkable,” he said.

Frontline health workers and staffs involved in treatment of coronavirus-related complications were vaccinated in the country in the first phase which started from January 27. In the second phase of the campaign which started on March 7, senior citizens above 65 years of age, elderly above 55 years of age in the Himalayan districts and health workers who couldn’t get vaccinated in the first phase are being inoculated.

Nearly 53 percent of the targeted people have been vaccinated so far in the first and second phase, according to Dr Gautam.

He said that preparations were also underway to administer the second dose of the vaccine to those who’ve received the first dose. It is recommended that the second dose of Covishield be administered within 8 to 12 weeks of first dose.

So far, 2.348 million doses of Covishield vaccine have entered Nepal, including one million received from India as grant, one million bought from India and 348,000 through the COVAX facility.

Currently, the waste rate of the vaccines is less than one percent, informed Dr Gautam adding that the remaining one million vaccines purchased from the Serum Institute of India would arrive Nepal on Monday.