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Nepal gets 1 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine bought from India

Oxford-AstraZeneca's Covishield is being manufactured by Pune-based Serum Institute of India (SII) which has collaborated with Oxford University and pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca for making the vaccine.

February 22, 2021 / 08:36 AM IST
Representative image: Reuters

Representative image: Reuters

Nepal on Sunday received the one million doses of Covishield vaccine it bought from India’s Serum Institute, in a major boost to the country’s fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

Oxford-AstraZeneca's Covishield is being manufactured by Pune-based Serum Institute of India (SII) which has collaborated with Oxford University and pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca for making the vaccine.

An Air India aircraft carrying the consignment of COVID-19 vaccines landed at the Tribhuvan International Airport in the morning, according to sources at the Indian Embassy here.

The Nepal government has decided to procure a total of two million doses of the vaccine manufactured by the SII.

Last month, India gifted one million doses of Covishield vaccine to Nepal.

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COVID-19 Vaccine

Frequently Asked Questions

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How does a vaccine work?

A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.

How many types of vaccines are there?

There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.

What does it take to develop a vaccine of this kind?

Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.

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The Nepal government has already started administering the vaccines on health workers, security personnel and journalists on priority basis.

It is planning to soon start a vaccine rollout for elderly citizens, according to the Health Ministry.

Nepal has so far reported 2,73,431 COVID-19 cases and 2,061 fatalities.

India is one of the world''s biggest drug makers and an increasing number of countries have already approached it for procuring the coronavirus vaccines.

India has sent consignments of domestically produced coronavirus vaccines under grant assistance to Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Mauritius and Seychelles.

It is also undertaking commercial supplies of the doses to a number of countries, including Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Brazil and Morocco.
PTI
first published: Feb 22, 2021 08:36 am

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