Nepal to buy 4 mn Chinese COVID-19 vaccine, non-disclosure deal raises concerns
Kathmandu [Nepal], June 17 (ANI): Nepal is set to buy four million doses of the Chinese Sinopharm vaccine amid its fight the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, local media reported. However, details like the price and delivery date have been kept under wraps.
The Kathmandu Post reported that the vaccines would be bought under a non-disclosure agreement, as proposed by Sinopharm, raising concerns among many people in the Himalayan nation.
"The Cabinet has authorised the vaccine procurement unit of the Ministry of Health to buy four million doses of the vaccine from China," Minister for Industry, Supplies and Commerce Rajkishwor Yadhav told the Post. "Other issues including price, logistics, transportation will be looked into by the government agencies concerned."
The Nepali daily newspaper reported a minister as saying that two doses of the Chinese vaccine are likely to cost around USD 20. According to a country's health ministry official, USD 20 for two doses would still be pricey for Nepal when compared to what deal it got for the USD 4 AstraZeneca vaccine from the Serum Institute of India.
Last week, Bangladesh had signed a deal with China to buy the Sinopharm Covid-19 vaccine, without disclosing the price or quantity of doses, Dhaka Tribune reported.
This comes as the disclosure of procurement price of Sinopharm vaccine in Sri Lanka in May had sparked a row after reports emerged that Colombo had to shell out a higher per-dose price than its fellow South Asian country Bangladesh.
According to the Daily Mirror, Sri Lanka is paying USD 15 per dose for the Sinopharm vaccine, which is USD 5 higher than what Bangladesh paid.
Bangladesh had started its inoculation drive against coronavirus with the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine procured from India at USD 5 per dose. As things stand, the Chinese vaccine is set to cost Bangladesh double the AstraZeneca shot. (ANI)