For people like former water resources secretary and seasoned bureaucrat Dr. Dwarika Nath Dhungel, who has been venting on social media about not receiving the second dose of vaccine, Japan’s announcement to donate 1.6 million doses of Japanese-made AstraZeneca must have been a huge relief.
“It is a source of relief for the entire Nepali people. In fact, I was on the verge of giving up. This announcement gives me a lot of relief,” Dr. Dhungel said. “I would like to express my gratitude to the Japanese government and people for their assistance. The Nepalese government must now ensure that all elderly people who have been waiting for the second dose of the vaccine receive it.”
Former water resources secretary Dwarika Nath Dhungel, frustrated by the Nepal government’s apathy in providing the second dose of vaccine, tweeted, “Was wondering, if there is any government in Nepal to take care of its citizens?” Yes, I found one for paying a political leader’s medical bills. What kind of government do we have, when all Nepalese are looking to the sky for COVID vaccine at international airports?”
Dhungel isn’t the only one who is relieved by this news. Over 1.4 million elderly people over the age of 65 must be happy. “Japan has come to our aid. Thank you to the Japanese government and people for your generous support. This came at a time when the majority of people my age were losing hope,” said Shyam Prasad Adhikari, an eighty-year-old former secretary.
This announcement also demonstrates the Japanese government’s and people’s concern.
The Japanese government donated 1.6 million doses of Japanese-made COVID-19 AstraZeneca vaccine to Nepal as a grant through the COVAX facility, as announced by MOTEGI Toshimitsu, Japan’s Minister for Foreign Affairs. Once the procurement arrangements are finalized by the international organization in charge of the matter, the exact shipping schedule will be confirmed.
The Ambassador of Japan, KIKUTA Yutaka, stated that this is a reflection of Nepal’s long-standing friendship with Japan. He applauded Tokyo’s decision because the vaccine is desperately needed to save the lives of many Nepalis. The Ambassador hoped that this vaccine would alleviate some of the problems caused by the COVID-19 situation. Concerning these Japanese-made AstraZeneca vaccines, the Embassy would like to work with the Ministry of Health and Population of Nepal to make the necessary arrangements for receiving and using them for Nepal’s COVID-19 vaccination campaign. These Japanese-made AstraZeneca vaccines will effectively aid the second vaccination of elderly people who have already received the first vaccination of Covishield, an AstraZeneca-type vaccine produced by Serum Institute of India.
According to a press release issued by the Japanese Embassy, they would also be useful to precede the vaccination campaign for the younger generations who have not yet been vaccinated. The Embassy of Japan has been collaborating with the Government of Nepal to combat COVID-19 by providing medical equipment to Nepali hospitals in a variety of ways.
The Japanese government is working with Nepal to combat the pandemic and has provided medical equipment through the Japanese Grant Aid program. It has confirmed the donation of nearly 300 oxygen generators, as well as 25 blood gas analyzers and 25 portable ultrasound image diagnostic systems for medical care. Six Japanese-made ambulances are now expected to arrive in October to help save more lives in the COVID-19 situation. The Japanese Embassy hopes that this vaccination assistance will save more Nepali lives from COVID-19, and it strongly supports the vaccination campaign, which is critical for the advancement of post-COVID Nepali society and economy.
The Nepalese government applauds Japan’s decision to supply Nepal with approximately 1.6 million doses of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine manufactured in Japan via the COVAX facility. With the completion of the necessary procedures, plans will be made to transport the vaccines to Nepal as soon as possible.
The Government of Nepal has expressed its heartfelt appreciation and gratitude to the Government of Japan for providing life-saving vaccines during this difficult time.
Previously, the US government donated over 1.6 million single dose J&J vaccines to Nepal. Nepal is now in a good position to provide safety to vulnerable populations as a result of these three million doses. Japan has been generous to the Nepali people.