The Kathmandu Metropolitan City (KMC) has started vaccinating all citizens above 18 years with the first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine from Monday.

Everyone above 18 years of age can take the first dose of AstraZeneca vaccine from immunization centers in all 32 wards of Kathmandu district and those in Lalitpur district can take the Vero Cell vaccine.

Initially, the Ministry of Health and Population had decided to jab all those above 18 only Darchula, Bajura, Dolpa, Humla, Mugu, Jumla, Rasuwa, Solukhumbu, Sankhuwasabha and Taplejung district after the arrival of 4.4 million doses of Vero Cell vaccine from China on September 17.

However, a meeting of the District Vaccination Coordination and Province Health Office held on Sunday decided to vaccine all adults aged over 18 years in Kathmandu and Lalitpur districts.

Those above 18 years old should carry their identity card and electronic registration number in order to receive the jab. The time scheduled for this round of inoculation is 10:00 am to 4:00 pm.

Similarly, the Health Ministry has added seven new vaccination centers — Nepal Police Hospital, Maharajgunj; Armed Police Force Hospital, Balambu; Bir Hospital, Ratnapark; Teaching Hospital, Maharajgunj; Civil Hospital, Baneshwor; Paropakar Maternity and Women’s Hospital, Thapathali; and Shree Birendra Sainik Hospital, Chhauni.

In Bhaktapur district, only those above 40 are being vaccinated at the moment.

On Monday alone, 312,874 vaccines were administered all over Nepal. The government has set a target to immunize 71.6 per cent or a total 21,756,763 people above 18 years of age.

It has stated that 33 per cent of the targeted population will be immunized by October 17, two-thirds of the targeted population by 14 January 2022 and all the targeted population by 13 April 2022.

The Ministry of Health and Population has stated that the pandemic can be contained if at least 60 per cent of the country’s population is vaccinated. Kathmandu Valley has the highest number of people vaccinated against COVID-19 virus.

The government is reportedly all set to import 100,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines (40,000 doses Moderna and 60,000 doses Pfizer) to inoculate all children, 12-18 age group, and payments for the consignment have already been made.

So far, 17.7 million doses of vaccines have been imported into the country. The government plans to import 11.3 million vaccines for free under the COVAX facility, which is 20 per cent of the total target population.

It plans to import more than 10 million vaccines by October 17 and 32.3 million doses by mid-April.