China unhappy with Nepal over disclosure of Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine price
Nepal is planning to buy Chinese firm Sinopharm's COVID-19 vaccine under a non-disclosure agreement but some media publications have disclosed the procurement price of Sinopharm vaccine amounting to around $10 per dose which disappointed China.
The Kathmandu Post`s article revealed the price of the Sinopharm vaccine dose
The officials told the Post that Sinopharm had communicated its displeasure at the publicisation of vaccine procurement
Kathmandu: China is unhappy with Nepal after some media publications disclosed the procurement price of Sinopharm vaccine amounting to around $10 per dose which Kathmandu is planning to buy from Beijing to tackle the second wave of COVID-19. It was reported that four million doses of the Chinese Sinopharm vaccine would be bought under a non-disclosure agreement by Nepal, as proposed by Sinopharm, to keep the details including the price and delivery date under wraps.
The Kathmandu Post`s article revealed the price of the Sinopharm vaccine dose to be supplied to the Himalayan Nation based on confirmation from two ministers and two government secretaries who were present at Monday`s (June 14) Cabinet that decided to procure 4 million doses of vaccine from Sinopharm. The Post reported that the price was yet to be fixed given the nature of the agreement, but as per officials, it could be around $10 per dose.
"The way the media quoted the price of the vaccine and other logistical issues were concerning because these are very sensitive issues," Dr. Krishna Prasad Paudel, spokesperson for the Health Ministry told the Post. Multiple officials confirmed that China communicated its displeasure to Nepali agencies. The officials told the Post that Sinopharm had communicated its displeasure at the publicisation of vaccine procurement by the government of Nepal. Similarly, the Chinese embassy in Kathmandu also had reminded the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the nature of the deal, according to the officials.
"There was quite a lot of interest in the media before an agreement could be reached, which worried us. We were worried if we would get the vaccine or not," Dr. Krishna Prasad Paudel, spokesperson for the Health Ministry, told the Post. The Health Ministry on Thursday (June 17) issued a statement, refuting media reports about buying vaccines from China. It not only said that no deal has been reached yet but also went on to blame the media for disseminating information on vaccine procurement from China. In what was quite unusual on the part of the ministry, it issued the statement in English, specifying that Nepal has requested China to give preference to Kathmandu on vaccine cooperation.