Bhutan likely to begin second round of vaccination before month-end

Bhutan’s Prime Minister Dr Lotay Tshering has said that the second dose of Covid-19 vaccination would be given before the end of the 16th week after the first dose

Jul 04, 2021
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Bhutan, second round, vaccination, month-end

Bhutan’s Prime Minister Dr Lotay Tshering has said that the second dose of Covid-19 vaccination would be given before the end of the 16th week after the first dose.

In that case, the second round of a nationwide vaccination campaign will begin before the end of this month.

The prime minister said although the initial gap between the two doses were between 8 to 12 weeks, research conducted by Oxford University found that the gap could be extended up to 16th week.

“We tried to roll out the second mass vaccination within the 12 weeks but could not get the vaccine because those were in short supply,” he said.

Lotay Tshering said his government consulting 17 countries to secure the second booster dose for the entire eligible population.  

Denmark announced on July 1 it would donate 250,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine to Bhutan at the earliest possible time. 

He said: “We have requested donor countries to give us vaccines within the 16-week period and many have agreed to deliver within the stipulated time at any cost. Denmark has agreed and I’m hopeful that other countries will also come forward in a few days’ time.”

The prime minister said the government was expecting about 350,000 doses from the European countries.

The government was also considering the mix-and-match vaccination, especially with the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.

He said the government had a purchase deal with the manufacturer of the Pfitzer vaccine from where an order for more than 200,000 doses is in place. “We bought the vaccines at USD 6 per dose. They said they can deliver it by the end of this year, but we are requesting them to make it sooner.”

With evidence now showing that Pfizer vaccines were usable among children above the age of 12 years, the PM said securing the doses would help vaccinate the country’s children.

He said even Moderna was seeking approval from the United States Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) to use their vaccines in children above 12 years. “I’m sure the approval will come through anytime now.”

 (SAM)