COVID: Gurkha Veterans Face Long Delays On Second Vaccine Dose

Gurkha veterans living in Nepal are increasingly concerned they are not receiving their second coronavirus vaccine within the recommended time.   

Many have been unable to return to the UK due to the pandemic and, for some, their visas have now expired.

With less than 7% of Nepal's population double vaccinated, members of the Gurkha veteran population have experienced the hardships faced by so many across the world during the pandemic – loss, hospitalisation, fear of the rising numbers of cases and isolation as they stay at home.

Gurkha veteran Captain Kamal Gurung is in the over-65 age category and received his Covishield vaccination six months ago – but is still waiting for the second dose.

He said: "It's been six months since I received my first vaccination in Kathmandu.

"We were told that the second booster dose must be taken within eight weeks.

"Now it's been 24 weeks. We have not received the second dose," he added.

As in the UK, vaccinations are being given according to age and Gurkha veterans are not being treated as special cases.

Gurkha veteran Major Damber Ghaley said: "Ex-Gurkhas do not have any separate category facility to be vaccinated.

"The government and local officials provide vaccines according to their policy.

"The ward asks for certain documents and according to our age group, we veterans are also receiving vaccines."

In May, the UK sent medical aid to Nepal to help its fight against coronavirus.

A flight from RAF Brize Norton transported 260 ventilators and 2,000 pieces of personal protective equipment (PPE) to the country's capital, Kathmandu.

The UK also sent a military medical and advisory team to Nepal to help the country deal with its coronavirus crisis.