The UN-backed facility has committed 8.4 million vaccine doses. Dr. Surendra Chaurasia, head of the Department of Health Services’ Logistic Management Section, said they received vaccine doses from COVAX today.
The Health Ministry will start vaccinating 5-11-year-olds on June 23. First, 27 districts will be vaccinated, then the remaining 50. In the first phase, children in Morang, Saptari, Sunsari, Dhanusha, Mahottari, Kathmandu, Bhaktapur, Lalitpur, Kavrepalanchok, Sindhuli, and Nawalparasi West will be vaccinated.
Vaccination drives are also planned at Rupandehi, Dang, Banke, Bardiya, Kapilvastu, Kailali, Surkhet, Kanchanpur, and Dadeldhura.
USAID facilitated the process and paid for the vaccine doses, officials said. The Department of Health Services has already received emergency use authorization for Pfizer doses and trained health workers.
Pfizer-BioNTech Covid vaccines are available for children ages 5 to 11 and 12 and older. Nepal has used Pfizer vaccines on comorbid patients and 12-17-year-olds.
The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is the only one recommended by WHO for 5-11-year-olds.
The American Association of Paediatrics recommends giving 5-11-year-olds 10 microgram doses every 21 days. 0.2ml is one-third the dose for teens and adults.
The 5-11 vaccine vial is orange-capped, while the other is purple. Under Pfizer’s preliminary plan, each 10-dose vial needs 1.3 ml of diluent.
The FDA approved emergency use of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid vaccine in children ages 5 to 11. Multiple countries have started vaccinating children. Officials say there won’t be storage issues for Pfizer doses because they’ll be sent to provinces and districts.
Pfizer doses for adults can be stored at 2 to 8 degrees Celsius for up to 31 days, but the paediatric dosages can be stocked for up to ten weeks. The Health Ministry plans to give the second dose of the vaccine to children on July 18-25.
Earlier, the government decided to vaccinate 5- to 11-year-olds with Covid-19 in April. For that, the Health Ministry decided to buy 8.4 million doses of the vaccine and signed an $18 million concessional loan agreement with the World Bank.
The procedure to obtain vaccine doses for the young age group was put on hold as the Covid-19 infection rate dropped. Officials stopped buying vaccine doses when they saw a chance to get them free of charge.
So far, Nepal has received 55,584,770 doses of Covid vaccines from Janssen, AstraZeneca, Vero Cell, Moderna, and Sinovac-CoronaVac, including paediatric doses from Pfizer-BioNTech.