It has been 155 days since the vaccination campaign started in Nepal but only 2.55 percent of the total population has been fully vaccinated during this period.
If the vaccination program runs at the same pace, it may take more than 12 years for the Nepal government to vaccinate the promised 72 percent of the population against COVID-19.
So far, a total of 749,585 people have been fully vaccinated in Nepal.
According to former Director of Epidemiology and Disease Control Division and member of National Immunization Advisory Committee, Dr G.D. Thakur, it is estimated that it will take more than 12 years to achieve the government’s goal of vaccinating the 72 percent population over the age of 18 against the disease if vaccination continues at the current pace.
“At this speed, we can’t handle the third or fourth wave of COVID-19 in the future. The only scientifically proven main weapon to prevent many such variants that may appear in the country in the future, including the Delta Plus variant, is the vaccine,” said Dr Thakur.
The National Immunization Advisory Committee recommended that the government vaccinate people over the age of 18 against COVID-19. According to the suggestion, the government had recently set a national target of vaccinating 72 percent of the population over the age of 18 as COVID-19 vaccines are not available for children.
“The third wave could have been prevented by vaccination, but in the current situation, the third wave is almost inevitable,” said a senior public health expert, Dr Rajendra BC.
A nationwide vaccination campaign was started by vaccinating 9,084 people on January 27 last year. Apart from the full dose, about 8.78 percent of the total population, i.e. 2,582,375 people have been provided with a single dose of vaccines so far.
A total of 1,364,701 senior citizens who have been vaccinated with the first dose of Covishield have been waiting for four months for the second vaccination.
Regardless of the variant, the vaccine will help protect people from COVID-19 to some degree, experts say. Pointing out that those who have received the full dose of the vaccine will not have to face complications while the death owing to COVID-19 will also be reduced.
Experts suggest that Nepal should make an action plan to ensure vaccination for children under the age of 18 as vaccinations for children have already arrived in different parts of the world while some are in the process of approval.
Presenting the budget, Finance Minister Bishnu Prasad Poudel said that the main objective of the government was to save the lives of the people from COVID-19. The government has allocated Rs. 26.75 billion for vaccine procurement in the budget.