Our journey will not end with second dose of vaccine: Bhutan health minister

Bhutanese Health Minister Dechen Wangmo has said that the government was considering some relaxation after the completion of the second phase of the vaccination drive

Jul 09, 2021
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Second dose of vaccine in Bhutan

Bhutanese Health Minister Dechen Wangmo has said that the government was considering some relaxation after the completion of the second phase of the vaccination drive. However, she added it will depend on the total coverage of the vaccination. 

Noting the prevalence of the Delta variant, she said the vaccination coverage required was now higher. “During our first round of vaccination, more than 25,000 eligible people in the country did not get their shots,” she was quoted as saying by Kuensel newspaper. “If it is the same situation this time, achieving herd immunity would be difficult,” she added.

“If the coverage is not adequate for us to achieve herd immunity, I think the existing restrictions would continue as it is," she said. Currently, the government has strict restrictions, including quarantine measures, for the people moving from high-risk zones to other parts of the country.

For Bhutan to secure herd immunity from the Delta variant of the virus, at least 80 percent of the total population needed to be vaccinated, she said. “We could manage only around 65 percent from the first dose of vaccine, which is far from adequate to protect our people from the possible outbreaks,” she added.

Almost 30 percent of the population is children below the age of 18 years and they need to be vaccinated for achieving herd immunity.

The government has managed to secure enough doses of Moderna and Pfizer vaccines, which it plans to use to vaccinate children. 

(SAM) 

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