Kathmandu : Around one million children, above five years of age, have not received even a single dose of the vaccine in Nepal, The Kathmandu Post reported citing the country's Ministry of Health and Population.
As per the Health and Population Ministry, there would be around one million children over five years old who were deprived of Covid vaccination campaigns. While talking with reporters, Abhiyan Gautam, chief of the Immunisation Section at the Family Welfare Division under the Department of Health Services, said, “Hundreds of thousands of children throughout the country, who were below five years of age and were not covered by the Covid vaccination campaigns have now become eligible for the vaccine.”
“We have started preparations to bring pediatric doses of the vaccine to children of the said age group,” he added.
Meanwhile, children between 5 and 11 years were inoculated with pediatric doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid vaccine after the Covax facility, the UN-backed international vaccine sharing, supplied around 8.4 million doses last year, reported The Kathmandu Post.
But, now, when the health facilities in Nepal had failed, thousands of vaccine doses had expired. But tens of thousands of children, who reached five after the vaccination campaigns stopped, remain unvaccinated.
Infectious disease experts as well as virologists have asked parents to take extra precautions to protect their children as the chances of Nepal getting pediatric vaccine doses in the midst of the ongoing new Covid wave are slim.
Talking about the rise in new cases of the coronavirus, Dr Anup Subedee, an infectious disease expert, said, "The good thing is most schools are currently closed for year-end vacation".
"So children of unvaccinated children should ensure that their children take all necessary precautions against Covid like wearing face masks, using hand sanitisers and avoiding crowds. And if their children show Covid-like symptoms, parents should isolate them and take them for Covid test," he added.
According to The Kathmandu Post, Nepal on Sunday recorded 38 new cases of Covid--37 from 185 polymerase chain reaction tests and one from 516 antigen tests. This shows the positivity rate of PCR tests is 20 per cent. And, on Saturday 38 people tested positive for Covid. The number was 142 on Friday.
Meanwhile, on Monday, Nepal confirmed the spread of Omicron's sub-variant XBB.1.16 in the country.
Of 24 swab samples, on which whole-genome sequencing was carried out at the National Public Health Laboratory, the XBB.1.16 sub-variant was detected in 10 swab samples, which is around 42 per cent of the total samples, as per the report in The Kathmandu Post.