Gender Equality Update no. 25 - Ensuring equitable distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine in Nepal (March 2, 2021)

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On February 6, 2021, the Government of Nepal completed the first target of its COVID-19 vaccination drive. More than 429,000 (including Female Health Community Volunteers) persons received the first dose of the vaccine. The Ministry of Health and Population (MoHP) has received 1 million doses from the government of India and procured additional 2 million doses (1 million has already been received and 1 million is coming soon). Further, MoHP is now waiting for 1.9 million doses vaccines to arrive through the COVAX Facility, which is the vaccines pillar of the ACT-Accelerator, convened by CEPI, GAVI, World Health Organisation and UNICEF. As the vaccination rolls out, interventions aimed at responding to the emerging needs of women and excluded groups are vital. These efforts will help ensure the vaccine is distributed in an equitable manner across the government’s priority groups.

During the Gender in Humanitarian Action Task Team (GiHA-TT) meeting on December 21, 2020, which focused on women’s leadership and decision-making in the rollout of the vaccine, stakeholders were recommended to:

  • Consider gender-related barriers when planning vaccine distribution strategies in order to reach women from excluded groups.

  • Promote women´s voices and leadership in all levels of decision-making during the COVID-19 response ensure equitable distribution of the vaccine.

  • Continue efforts to ensure that timely and accurate information on preventive measures and the COVID-19 vaccine are provided with an intersectional approach.