KATHMANDU/NEW DELHI (Reuters) – Nepal on Friday granted approval for AstraZeneca’s COVISHIELD vaccine against the coronavirus, the government said, following a meeting with neighbouring India, a major manufacturer of the shot.
“Conditional permission has been granted for emergency use authorization of COVISHIELD vaccine against COVID-19 in Nepal,” the Department of Drug Administration said.
Nepal has reported 266,816 cases and 1,948 deaths from COVID-19, according to official data.
The announcement follows a meeting between India’s foreign minister S. Jaishankar and his Nepali counterpart Pradeep Kumar Gyawali on Friday where “close cooperation” on the pandemic was discussed, according to a statement by India’s foreign ministry.
The statement added that Nepal requested that India supply the Himalayan nation with vaccines, without providing further details.
India, one of the world’s leading drugmakers, has already begun the manufacture of AstraZeneca’s vaccine, as well as COVAXIN, developed by Bharat Biotech International with a state-run institute.
It begins its own vaccination drive on Saturday.
(Reporting by Gopal Sharma in Kathmandu and Alasdair Pal in New Delhi; Editing by Jan Harvey and Louise Heavens)