Thousands of Nepali migrant workers stuck over delayed vaccinations

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In trials, less than half of vaccine recipients reported moderate or severe episodes of side effects such as fever, headache and fatigue. Photo: Sina Schuldt/dpa
In trials, less than half of vaccine recipients reported moderate or severe episodes of side effects such as fever, headache and fatigue. Photo: Sina Schuldt/dpa

Delays in Nepal’s vaccination drive have prevented thousands of Nepali migrants from taking on overseas jobs, officials said on Wednesday.

Around 20,000 Nepali migrant workers are stuck in the country not able to take up their jobs due to delays in vaccination as well as the issuing of vaccination certificates, according to Megh Nath Bhurtel, secretary of Nepal’s Association of Foreign Employment Agencies, an umbrella association of job placement agencies.

“An increasing number of labour-receiving countries, especially in the Gulf, have made vaccination compulsory to enter their countries. But our government has not been able to provide vaccines or issue certificates for the vaccinated on time,” Bhurtel told dpa.

Nepal has kept migrants with work visas on priority groups but a low supply of vaccines mean they have had to wait weeks, or even months, to get the jab.

Mahendra Nath Bhattarai, a spokesperson from the Department of Foreign Employment, said that the government does not have an estimate regarding how many workers have been affected.

Nepal saw an outflow of 166,698 people in the last fiscal year that ended in mid-July, according to the Kathmandu Post daily newspaper. This would be the lowest in 16 years.

Nepal has fully inoculated nearly 4 million people of its population of 30 million.

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