Wednesday, 6 December, 2023

Govt’s Vaccine Priority

It is a race against time. Nepal government is in serious campaign to inoculate entire population against COVID-19 virus by mid-April this year. It is a matter of satisfaction that about 65 per cent of targeted population has been inoculated with full dose of vaccine and the government is working on a war footing to vaccinate the rest 40 per cent targeted people in next three months. In early 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic took the world by storm, Nepal was not aloof from the global surge of deadly virus. It also quickly came in the grip of pandemic. With its limited medical and human resources, the country swung into action to curb the virus spread through the introduction of number of measures including lockdown, prohibitory order and awareness campaign. Thousands lost their lives during the first and second waves of the pandemic. Nonetheless, Nepal proved its mettle in fighting the COVID-19 that is now again spreading like a wildfire after the emergence of Omicron variant.

International community, including the WHO, has appreciated Nepal’s vaccination campaign which has protected thousands of people, including the vulnerable ones from virus risk. Thanks to the neighbours, friendly nations and global health agencies that provided vaccines, medical equipment and other items to Nepal to combat the pandemic. Their support has been crucial for the country to launch vaccination drive from the very beginning. Nepal started vaccinating the people on January 27 last year, making it one of earlier nations in South Asia to introduce the inoculation campaign. With the growing number of people taking the life-saving jabs, threat of Omicron has been largely averted but it has posed greater risk to the unvaccinated people as reported by different hospitals and health facilities.

Vaccination being the only effective way to fight the pandemic, the present government has attached top priority to vaccinating all people. Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba, in his address to nation on Friday, underscored the government’s commitment to vaccinate everyone my mid-April. In order to implement the pledge, the government has put the young populace aged between 12 and 17 years and those aged below 12 years on the list of people eligible to be vaccinated. Similarly, it has already begun to give booster dose to those who have got two doses of the vaccine. A booster is supposed to extend and maintain the immunity against the virus. Now the focus is on vaccinating those who have not received even a single dose of the vaccine. The five-day mass vaccination drive starting from January 31 will be critical to meet the ambitious inoculation goal within the given timeframe.

According to the news report of this daily, hospitalisation and fatality rate is low in the virus-infected patients who have been vaccinated. Doctors involved in the treatment of COVID-19 patients have said that the unvaccinated population is still at risk. Experts suggest that the COVID-19 Crisis Management Coordination Committee (CCMCC) should mobilise the local and provincial governments for prevention, control, and treatment of the virus. A close coordination among the three-tier of the government is necessary for the effective inoculation at the nook and corner of the country. In similar manner, the three levels should work in tandem to enforce smart lockdown to break the chain of the virus.