Suraj Bhattarai, member of the IAP Young Physician Leaders alumni Steering Committee and Research Fellow and Founding Executive Member at the Global Institute for Interdisciplinary Studies, Kathmandu (Bagmati, Nepal), recently co-authored an article that sheds some light on the roll out of COVID-19 vaccine in Nepal.
'A million-dose success for Nepal: insights from Nepal’s national vaccine deployment plan against COVID-19' highlights seven insights that the world can take from a lower-middle-income country’s relatively quick vaccination deployment:
- Amendment of health regulations opened door for new vaccine registration
- Vaccine choice was guided by science and evidence
- Strong political will and vaccine diplomacy was observed in the region
- Priorities were set to ensure health equity
- Effective vaccine delivery system allowed equitable distribution of doses
- Phase-wise expansion of vaccine coverage has been planned
- Sustainability of vaccination programme has been widely discussed
As highlighted in the conclusion,
Nepal’s vaccine diplomacy could be an example for many countries that have not started COVID-19 vaccination yet, especially the low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Strong political will, adaptive changes in national policies and regulations, timely allocation of available resources, priority setting for equitable distribution of doses, multi-sectoral management approach and result-oriented collaboration with national and international stakeholders are key to successful vaccine deployment. The governments of LMICs need to act aggressively to vaccinate the majority of their populations ahead of consecutive waves, possibly due to more dreadful virus variants. Clear clinical and public health guidelines are also required to inform whether previously infected and recovered individuals should or should not take the vaccine. Moreover, nationwide studies are needed to gauge the level of public awareness and perception regarding the new vaccine to determine the factors associated with vaccine hesitancy, to report adverse events following immunization (AEFI) and to generate evidence on vaccine-induced immunity in the communities.
You can read the full article at https://academic.oup.com/jtm/advance-article/doi/10.1093/jtm/taab027/6154673.