At least two vaccine candidates are in the final stages of a third phase trial in India, which is the world's largest producer of vaccines

Nepal has written to the Indian government requesting for procurement of Covid-19 vaccines to inoculate around 20 percent of the Nepali population.

“To get the vaccines at the earliest, the government has requested the Indian government to buy vaccines for 20 percent Nepalis,” a Nepal Health Ministry official was quoted as saying in a report by The Kathmandu Post.

As per the report, Nepal will pay for the vaccines it sources through the Indian government. Coronavirus has killed more than 1,800 people and infected over 260,000 others in Nepal.

At least two vaccine candidates including Oxford’s AstraZeneca and domestically developed candidate Bharat Biotech’s vaccine are in the final stages of a third phase trial in India, which is the world's largest producer of vaccines.

Nepal is also pursuing vaccines made in other countries, said the report.

“Around 15 vaccine candidates of different countries and companies are in third phase trials. The government has written letters to most of the countries for help and to the individual companies to procure the vaccines,” said the coordinator of Nepal’s Coronavirus Vaccine Advisory Committee Shyam Raj Upreti, according to the report.

Last month, the Nepalese government sent diplomatic notes to India, China, Russia, the UK and the US, countries whose vaccines against the coronavirus have either completed the third phase trials or are near their completion, for early availability in Nepal, the report said.

The Kathmandu Post pointed out that those below 15 will not be vaccinated as vaccines have not been tested on people below this age. Those above this age constitute about 72 per cent of Nepal's population.

Of this, 20 percent will be vaccinated with shots provided by the COVAX programme, which has the world’s largest and most diverse portfolio of potential Covid-19 vaccines. It is co-led by Gavi, the global vaccine alliance, and the World Health Organization, the report said.

The report also quoted Upreti saying that the World Health Organization has asked the government to prepare for rollout of COVID-19 vaccines under COVAX programmes in the second trimester of 2021.

Read the full report in The Kathmandu Post