KATHMANDU, Jan. 14 (Xinhua) -- Nepal's drug regulatory authority has asked the manufacturers and suppliers of COVID-19 vaccines to get listed at the department and register their vaccines for the emergency use in Nepal.
By issuing a notice on Wednesday, the Department of Drug Administration opened the door for listing of vaccine supply companies and registration of vaccines as the country seeks to inoculate 72 percent of its population with COVID-19 vaccines.
The department asked manufactures and their authorized dealers to submit applications along with the required documents for the listing and registration as early as possible.
The registration of COVID-19 vaccines will be based on listing by the World Health Organization or registration and approval for emergency use by concerned drug regulatory authority, the notice said.
"Listing of manufacturer or supplier and registration of vaccine makes it eligible to enter into Nepali market," Santosh K.C, information officer at the drug administration department told Xinhua on Thursday morning.
"But, the Nepali government will take separate decision whether it would procure all needed COVID-19 vaccines by itself or allow the private sector to import the vaccines and sell in the market," he said.
K.C. said that vaccines registered at the department for emergency use could be approved for general vaccination program if it got the approval for general vaccination program in the country of origin.
The Nepali government plans to vaccinate the most vulnerable groups or 3 percent of its population, including health workers, security personnel and civil servants in the first phase of inoculation against the COVID-19 pandemic, and people aged 55 and above and those suffering from prolonged ailments, who account for 17 percent of its population, will be in the second phase.
"They will be vaccinated free of cost," Nepal's Health Minister Hridayesh Tripathi told local media.
The Nepali government expects to get vaccines for an additional 20 percent of its population under the World Health Organization-led COVAX facility intended to ensure equitable distribution of the COVID-19 vaccines for countries.
According to the health ministry, Nepal will prioritize the purchase of COVID-19 vaccines that can be relatively easier to be stored citing inadequate freezing infrastructure to ensure safety of the vaccines demanding storage in very low temperatures. Enditem