Kathmandu [Nepal], March 3 (ANI): Parliamentarians and staffers of the Nepal Parliament took their first jab of Indian-made COVID-19 vaccine at the premises of Minbhawan based Civil Hospital as they prepared to participate in the first meeting of reinstated Lower House Assembly on March 7.
Health Minister Hridayesh Tripathi, House Speaker Agni Prasad Sapkota, Co-chairs of ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) rival faction Pushpa Kamal Dahal and Madhav Kumar Nepal became the first Nepali leaders to administered Indian-made vaccine 'Covishield' from the Serum Institute of India (SII).
The Parliamentarians are being vaccinated from Wednesday till weekend as first meeting of lately reinstated House of Representatives has been called for Sunday.
But for Parliamentarian like Yagya Raj Sunuwar, vaccination drive will not benefit him personally but also convince people to take jab as low number of participation has been seen in the starting phase of teh inoculation drive.
"There is a widespread rumor about side effects of vaccine as well as questions have been raisedt. It is already been an hour since I was vaccinated, the usual rest time is half-an-hour and I have not experienced any sort of uncomfortable or reaction inside my body," Sunuwar told ANI after receiving the vaccine.
Nepal ran the first phase of COVID-19 inoculation drive where nearly two lakhs people were administered Covishield vaccine, received under grant assistance from India.
Later last month, Nepal received the first batch of COVID-19 vaccine which it procured on commercial basis from the Serum Institute of India (SII).
The first phase of saw frontline health and sanitation workers being inoculated which was followed by vaccines being administered to government employees, journalists, security personnel, among others.
With participatory rate standing low in drive,the Nepal Government has aimed to continue inoculating public in a phased manner and procure more vaccines so that it would be able to vaccinate nearly two-thirds of its population by end of the year.
"We are under negotiation and we are expecting more from COVAX vaccines too which would help in expanding our campaign further. We are making more efforts, our campaign is expected to last for long and ministry is committed towards it," Hridayesh Tripathi, Health Minister of Himalayan Nation told reporters after administering the vaccine.
"In first phase, we got the vaccines in donations. In the second phase, we bought two million doses which cost 4 USD each dose, out of which one million has already arrived while one half is on its way. We are under negotiation to purchase another five million doses for which negotiations is underway, after its arrival and more from COVAX, we will expedite it," the Health Minister added.
Embroiled in political turmoil with dissolution of lower house by Prime Minister (caretaker) KP Sharma Oli in the month of December and again reinstated last month by Supreme Court, critiques have been opting government to win trust of people to take part in the drive.
The latest round of vaccination drive claims to help boost morale of people.
"The psychological and social fright which was created due to coronavirus now has veered off. With that confidence and assurance, I as a representative of people now would advocate public of my constituency and Nepal to gear up and take part in vaccination drive," Yagya Raj Sunuwar, the parliamentarian added.
Nepali President Bidya Devi Bhandari, on Monday, summoned first meeting of House of Representatives for March 7 after February 24 verdict of the Supreme Court to reinstate the Lower House of federal parliament. (ANI)