Bhutan considering vaccinating children aged between 5 to 11 years

The Bhutan government has been considering vaccinating children aged between 5 to 11 years after the initial trial results of Pfizer-BioNTech indicated safe and effective response in the group, media reports said

Oct 03, 2021
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Bhutan considering vaccinating children aged between 5 to 11 years

The Bhutan government has been considering vaccinating children aged between 5 to 11 years after the initial trial results of Pfizer-BioNTech indicated safe and effective response in the group, media reports said. 

Bhutan’s Health Minister Dasho Dechen Wangmo said they are ready to vaccinate children once the US FDA gives approval for using Pfizer in the ages of 5 to 11. The country has already vaccinated almost everyone above the age of 12 years in the country.

Bhutan mostly used donated vaccines in its national immunization drive and it had also donated some extra vaccines to Nepal.

There are around 60,000 children from ages 5 to 11 and there will be adequate vaccines to give them two doses or a full vaccination which is a total of 120,000 doses. The country has already purchased 198,900 doses of Pfizer which was delivered last month, reported The Bhutanese.

The tiny Himalayan country with a population of just over 700,000 ran one of the most effective Covid-19 vaccination drives in the world, administering doses to targeted groups within a week or 10 days time period. 

Significantly, the effective communication strategy and messaging from the top of the government helped make the drive successful. The vaccine hesitancy, otherwise a big problem in other countries, was almost nonexistent in Bhutan. 
 
The unique feat was achieved even with very scarce resources as the country has just over 300 doctors and nurses. However, the effective mobilization of volunteer groups with some basic training helped the government to vaccinate all. 

Most Bhutanese received mixed and match vaccines with Astra-Zeneca--donated by India-- as the first dose and Moderna--donated by the United States--as the second dose. Despite the high level of immunization, the country hasn’t relaxed its other preventive measures like quarantine.  

The next aim that government seeks to achieve is to vaccinate children below 11. The FDA is expected to take a call on approval by the end of October or early November. 

The health minister of Bhutan said the vaccination will primarily be done institutionally as they are mainly in schools and some in ECCDs and then after that those not in these institutions will be reached out to for the vaccination.

Around 59,000 children in 13 districts, who are aged between 12 to 18, have already received both doses of vaccines. Almost 20,000 children are still left to be vaccinated fully in seven districts. 

(SAM)