Nepal PM Oli takes India-made Covishield vaccine
Kathmandu, Mar 07: Nepal Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli took the India-made Covishield coronavirus vaccine on Sunday, as the Himalayan nation gears up to start the second phase of its immunisation drive.
The 69-year-old Nepalese leader received the Covishield jab at the Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital here on Sunday morning. His wife Radhika Shakya was also vaccinated.
The Covishield vaccine was developed in a collaboration between Oxford University and pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca. It is manufactured by Pune-based Serum Institute of India.
Oli''s personal physician, Dr Dibya Singh Shah, said the new vaccine guidelines allow the COVID-19 shot to be administered three months after kidney transplantation.
"(After) Evaluating the risks and benefits, it was decided that the prime minister should take the vaccine," Shah told The Kathmandu Post. In March last year, Oli had undergone a second kidney transplant surgery.
After getting the vaccine, Oli asked all senior citizens in the country to get the vaccine jabs, saying they are safe with no side-effects.
Finance Minister Bishnu Poudel, Health Minister Hridayesh Tripathi and Foreign Minister Pradeep Kumar Gyawali also received the coronavirus jabs on Sunday.
As part of phase II of the vaccination drive, the Nepal government will cover all persons over the age of 65 years in the country, which is around 1.6 million senior citizens.
Earlier, the government had planned to vaccinate all persons above 55 years, however a shortage in immunisation doses led to the age group being shortened.
In the first phase of the vaccination programme, health workers, security personnel and journalists were inoculated.
The coronavirus has claimed 3,010 lives, along with over 270,000 confirmed infections, in Nepal, according to Johns Hopkins University.