Booster dose campaign for children aged 12-17 affected due to insufficient funds in Nepal

Two weeks back booster shots were announced by the Ministry of Health and Population for children between the age of 12 to 17-year-old, but most districts have not started vaccinating due to budget limitations. District health workers say they can’t afford the booster dose campaign.

Krishna Bahadur Mijar, chief of Health Office Bhaktapur, said the Health Ministry didn’t provide sufficient funds for the campaign. “A campaign needs a good budget.” Health workers and employees involved in a campaign need additional funding, officials say.

The National Immunisation Advisory Committee recommended that the Health Ministry give booster shots to children and adolescents who received Covid-19 vaccine three months ago.

Health Office Kathmandu chief Basanta Adhikari said his office lacks the time and budget to launch a booster shot campaign. “We’re launching a vaccination campaign for 5-11-year-olds,” he said.

The Health Office Lalitpur said booster shots will be given through the regular programme because authorities have not provided a special budget.

Satish Bista, chief of Health Office Lalitpur, said it’s important to increase vaccination coverage. “But we can’t.” 12–17-year-olds in 20 districts, including three in Kathmandu Valley, received Pfizer-BioNTech jabs from November 22 last year.

From December 20, 57 districts gave children Moderna vaccines. 3.5 million school-aged children and adults received Covid injections. Without a campaign, experts say vaccination targets won’t be met.

“Vaccination coverage in 12- to 17-year-olds was high in the primary series of vaccination (first and second doses) since the programme was launched as a campaign,” said the vice-chancellor at Rapti Health Sciences and former chief of Child Health Division. If this programme isn’t a campaign, coverage will be low.

Budget constraints have prevented many districts, including those in the Valley, from launching booster dose campaigns. Dr. Bibek Kumar Lal, director of the Family Welfare Division under the Department of Health Services, said, “We’ve discussed budgets with officials from several districts.”

“This time there won’t be a special campaign with specific dates, but booster shots can be managed reached through the far-flung clinics,” said Lal. We’ll use vaccination vans.”

Lal’s office has asked health offices that aren’t launching the drive for 5-11-year-of age to go far flung clinics for 12-17-year-olds.The Health Ministry plans to vaccinate 5-11-year-olds in 27 districts starting June 23.

Nepal has received about 56,000,000 doses of vaccines for Covid from AstraZeneca, Pfizer-BioNTech..Vero Cell, Janssen, Moderna, and Sinovac-CoronaVac, 68.9% of the population (20,123,223) has been fully immunised.

India gave Nepal one million Covishield vaccines, manufactured by Serum Institute of India, on January 27.

According to the government’s new plan, the country needs to vaccinate 90% of its 29,192,480 population which is over 25 million people.