A little over 4 million doses of Vero Cell vaccine against COVID-19 will arrive in Nepal on Saturday from China. The government plans to inoculate people aged above 18 years with the vaccine.

Dr Bibek Kumar Lal, Director at the Family Welfare Division, under the Department of Health Services, said that 4.4 million doses of the China-made vaccine would arrive in Kathmandu on Saturday.

According to the data with the Ministry of Health and Population, as many as 5,877,079 people have received their first dose of anti-COVID vaccine and 5,243,236 have received their full dose as of Tuesday evening.

Meanwhile, the process of purchasing and importing anti-COVID vaccines is in limbo with the ordinance on the Drugs Act soon becoming invalid.

The previous government had brought an ordinance by amending the Drugs Act for easy import of vaccines. The ordinance, which was tabled in the Parliament – currently being disrupted by the primary opposition party, will automatically become void from Thursday if it is not renewed by both the Houses.

According to Article 114 of the Constitution, both houses of Parliament must approve the ordinance to keep it active. There is a provision that the replacement bill must be ratified within 60 days of the ordinance being tabled in the parliament.

The ordinance related to Drugs Act had made it easier to bring medicines and vaccines to be used during emergencies. The ordinance provides for easy import of medicines and vaccines required for COVID-19 and other epidemics.

Former Health Minister Hridayesh Tripathi has been quoted as saying that even the vaccines received by Nepal government as grant assistance would be illegal as soon as the ordinance becomes inactive.

The erstwhile government had also issued the COVID-19 Crisis Management Ordinance for the prevention and control of the corona virus. Mechanisms designed to control COVID-19 will also become inactive with the ordinance’s expiry.

As many as eight acid victims were availed employment after the then prime minister KP Sharma Oli-led government introduced the ordinance related to acid attack last year.

The ordinance, which provides for 20 years imprisonment for acid attackers, up to Rs  1 million compensation for survivors/victims and guarantee of employment, will also become inactive from Thursday.