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China pressurised Nepal to accept its Covid-19 vaccine, leaked letter reveals

Prashasti Awasthi Mumbai | Updated on February 08, 2021

When Nepal raised concerns over the vaccine’s efficacy, China asked Nepal to transport the vaccines immediately, adding the relevant documents, including the legal disclaimer, may be provided simultaneously or later

The Chinese embassy in Kathmandu had pressurised Nepal’s Foreign Ministry to accept its Covid-19 vaccine, without vaccine efficacy being validated, as per leaked documents cited by Nepali media.

Nepali media on Sunday revealed in a story that China’s Sinovac Covid-19 vaccine, produced by pharmaceutical Sinopharm, asked Nepal to accept the vaccine without any delay.

In a telephonic conversation, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi asked his Nepali counterpart Pradeep Kumar Gyawali to accept their vaccines. The Chinese minister kept forth a condition that the details of the vaccine will be sent afterward, as per media reports.

The report revealed that Wang Yi said necessary documents will be provided later, but take the vaccine immediately, or else the country may need to wait quite long to get the vaccine.

Also read: Bangladesh and Nepal to receive Covishield vaccines on January 21

The Chinese Embassy in Kathmandu, however, has not confirmed the validity of the letter.

The report further noted that when Nepal raised concerns over the vaccine’s efficacy, China asked Nepal to transport the vaccines immediately, adding the relevant documents, including the legal disclaimer, may be provided simultaneously or later.

“The Sinopharm vaccines are currently in high demand and short supply. In order to provide the vaccines to Nepal at the earliest and help the Nepali people’s fight against the pandemic, the Chinese side has again made arrangements to this end in coordination with Sinopharm. The relevant documents including legal disclaimer may be provided simultaneously or later,” the letter said.

It added: “If the Nepali side could not collect this batch of the vaccine as soon as possible, it will be redistributed by other commercial orders and the manufacturing of the vaccines for Nepal will have to be put on a much later list.”

“The Embassy hopes that relevant Nepali authorities could facilitate the early approval and registration of Sinopharm vaccine for emergency use in Nepal for the benefit of the Nepali people,” it further noted.

Last month, the Chinese Embassy in Nepal announced it would provide Nepal three lakh doses of the Sinovac vaccine.

However, the Chinese minister increased the quantity to five lakh doses of the vaccine after a telephonic conversation with Foreign Minister Gyawali, according to media reports.

Published on February 08, 2021

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