China will give more doses of COVID-19 vaccine to Nepal

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Government-organised visit to the production line of COVID-19 vaccine by Beijing Institute of Biological Products of Sinopharm's CNBG

KATHMANDU (Reuters) - China will give 800,000 shots of coronavirus vaccine to Nepal, its ambassador said, up from half a million promised earlier.

The gift is to support Nepal’s fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, Hou Yanqi said in a Twitter post late on Monday.

"Let us join hands to achieve the victory at an early date!" she said.

Supplies have not yet started and Hou did not provide any delivery times.

India has already gifted a million shots of the AstraZeneca vaccine that it makes to help its Himalayan neighbour kick off its immunisation programme in January.

Nepal also procured one million shots in a commercial deal with the Serum Institute of India that is making the vaccine.

India and China have been giving away COVID-19 vaccines as part of a diplomatic push to strengthen ties with neighbours and countries further afield.

Nepal granted emergency-use approval of a vaccine developed by an affiliate of China’s Sinopharm only last month.

(Reporting by Gopal Sharma; Editing by Sanjeev Miglani and Stephen Coates)