Bhutan considering third dose of Covid-19 vaccine booster next year

Bhutan, which has already fully vaccinated over 95 percent of its 18+ population, is now reportedly considering a third dose of Covid-19 vaccines as a booster shot next year, based upon the experience of countries like Israel and others which saw a significant rise in Covid-19 cases recently even after administering almost all eligible people with both doses

Aug 26, 2021
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Covid-19 vaccine booster

Bhutan, which has already fully vaccinated over 95 percent of its 18+ population, is now reportedly considering a third dose of Covid-19 vaccines as a booster shot next year, based upon the experience of countries like Israel and others which saw a significant rise in Covid-19 cases recently even after administering almost all eligible people with both doses. 

The Bhutan government is reportedly in touch with Pfizer for placing the order for booster shots that could be used next year, according to a report in The Bhutanese newspaper. Health Minister Dr. Tandi Dorji said that Pfizer has indicated to Bhutan that if it wants booster doses by next year then it should place its orders by now. 

A final decision regarding the booster shots is expected in the coming weeks.

Importantly, Bhutan had used the mixing-matching method where most people were given the first shot with Astra-Zeneca and Moderna vaccine as the second dose. Currently, it has been vaccinating its children between the age of 12 to 18 years. 

For people above 18 years of age, the country would require around half a million shots of Pfizer. However, the number would go up if the government includes children as well in the boost shot program.

Israel was earlier lauded for its effective and fast vaccination campaign where it inoculated most of its 8 million population with both doses. However, as the Delta variant made its way into the country, it reported almost 7000 positive cases in a day last month, forcing the government to roll out the third dose as a booster shot for elders and vulnerable people. 

Like Israel, Bhutan has recently vaccinated over 95 percent of the 18+ population. However, officials are concerned about the rise in cases as the antibodies developed by the vaccines recede with time. 

Health authorities have collected over 4,000 samples so far which include the young, old, those with comorbidities, and also with compromised immune systems. Health Minister Dorji said that the study would show the antibodies in different groups of people. The result of the study would be to help authorities to chart out the future strategy for the booster shots. 

 (SAM)