Even Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli discussed the issue with the Russian ambassador, but no results were forthcoming. A delegation from Moscow and Health Minister Hridayesh Tripathi had reached an informal agreement to buy 8 million doses of Russian vaccine on Bhaisak 15.
Health Minister Hridayesh Tripathi said that the issue of price was being discussed and decision would be taken in a few days. Similarly, Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli during a meeting with Russian Ambassador to Afghanistan Alexei Novikov in Baluwatar on Bhaisak 17 said that Nepal had already given permission for the use of Sputnik-V vaccine.
Prime Minister Oli had requested the ambassador to facilitate the import of vaccines from Russia. Although Nepal has agreed to purchase the vaccine from a high level representative of the producing country, no formal agreement has been reached due to disagreement over price.
The Russian made corona vaccine Sputnik-V has been approved for emergency use in Nepal. The Department of Health Services had given permission for the vaccine for emergency use in Nepal on Bhaisak 7. After that, the representatives of the vaccine manufacturing companies came to Nepal and discussed about the sale of vaccines.
The Ministry of Health has stated that no immediate decision has been taken as Nepal has been offered a higher price than the one purchased from India.
An official from the Ministry of Health said, “The proposal is a bit expensive. We have asked for a reduction in the price.” We have also asked to provide some doses of vaccine free of cost. Maybe a decision will be made in a few days.
“Spokesperson of the Ministry of Health Dr Jageshwar Gautam said that no decision has been taken despite discussions. “There are discussions about buying a Russian vaccine,” he said. “However, no decision has been made yet. I don’t have any more information about this, I have to ask the minister.”
According to ministry sources, the government has requested Russia to provide the vaccine on concessional terms. Stating that the current proposed price is expensive, the government has requested to provide some grants and the rest of the vaccines at concessional prices.
The Russian embassy has written a letter to the Russian government asking for grants and concessions. The government plans to vaccinate 21.4 million people over the age of 18 in Nepal. With Russia providing 8 million vaccines, 4 million people can be vaccinated with two doses.
Although Russia is in a position to provide all the necessary vaccines to Nepal in case Nepal has taken a good initiative, the confusion of Russian vaccines has not gone away as the government is worried that the cost of vaccines is expensive.
(Source : Ratopati)