Nepal to use China-made Vero Cell COVID-19 vaccine despite safety concerns

Amid serious safety concerns, Nepal has decided to begin the second phase of its COVID-19inoculation drive using China-made Vero Cell vaccine.Nepal’s Ministry of Health and Population on Sunday announced the drive will begin on Wednesdaywhere it plans to jab front line workers as well as those involved in cross-border trade with China.“As many as, 500,000 of the total 900,000 people targeted for vaccination have already receivedCOVID-19 vaccines. These 800,000 doses of China-donated vaccines will be administered to theremaining 400,000 people of the targeted group,” Dr. Jageswhor Gautam, Spokesperson for theMinistry of Health said.As per the official, students studying in China under scholarship schemes and preparing to go forfurther studies also would be administered with the vaccine made by Sinopharm.Nepal had granted conditional emergency approval for use of Vero Cell, the coronavirus vaccinemanufactured by China’s Beijing Institute of Biological Products earlier on February 18Despite Nepal’s approval, other countries like Sri Lanka have remained wary of the Chinese vaccine.Sri Lanka’s senior medical experts have stated that the Chinese vaccine Sinopharm, which was givenby Beijing should not be used on Sri Lankan nationals.Even Vietnam has remained an outlier to China’s fanfare COVID-19 vaccine diplomacy campaign inSoutheast Asia.Vietnam, which recently began its inoculation drive, has shied away from China-made vaccines,opting for the vaccine developed by British-Swedish pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca instead.This comes as Beijing has faced several accusations for spreading a sanitised narrative of itscoronavirus handling, and spewing online disinformation about non-Chinese vaccines.

Tags: China, Nepal, coronavirus, Sinopharm, Vero Cell vaccine