Bhutan inoculation process completed 90% against COVID-19

Published on : Monday, August 2, 2021

Bhutan has successfully inoculated its 90 per cent of its eligible adult population against COVID-19 within a week, an achievement that the UNICEF has hailed as vaccine “success story” in one of the world’s remotest regions.

The Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan with a tiny population of 800,000 administered 454,000 shots in the last seven days, which is more than 85 per cent of its adult population, its health ministry said on Tuesday.

The mass vaccination drive was applauded by Unicef representative Will Parks, who called Bhutan a “beacon of hope” in Asia, which is struggling with vaccine hesitancy and subsequently slow rollout for its huge population.

Bhutan started its vaccination drive in April after neighbouring India sent the first set of 550,000 shots of AstraZeneca vaccines. It ended up using all the shots to inoculate its population with the first dose.

But the vaccination drive received a setback after India, a major supplier of the AstraZeneca shot, halted exports after it struggled to meet the rising demand at home and infections surged.

Bhutanese capital Thimpu made an appeal for donations from countries and the World Health Organisation after the time gap between the first dose and second dose grew and concerns mounted.

Bhutan again kicked off the drive last week after half a million doses of Moderna vaccine were donated by the US under the Covax program, a Covax, WHO and CEPI-led initiative for equitable distribution of vaccines.

Another set of 250,000 shots of AstraZeneca were also received from Denmark in mid-July.

The country is yet to receive shots of Pfizer and Sinopharm from Croatia, Bulgaria, China and several others.

But the vaccination drive received a setback after India, a major supplier of the AstraZeneca shot, halted exports after it struggled to meet the rising demand at home and infections surged.

Thimpu made an appeal for donations from countries and the World Health Organisation after the time gap between the first dose and second dose grew and concerns mounted.

Bhutan again kicked off the drive last week after half a million doses of Moderna vaccine were donated by the US under the Covax program, a Covax, WHO and CEPI-led initiative for equitable distribution of vaccines.

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