Health Minister Dasho Dechen Wangmo

Around 37,000 eligible individuals yet to be vaccinated

Lyonpo says HM will only take vaccine after every eligible person receives their shot

There are approximately around 37,000 individuals who are eligible but have not been vaccinated so far. The unvaccinated people will be monitored by the health ministry’s surveillance team.

Health Minister Dasho Dechen Wangmo said the individuals should come forward for the vaccine. If an individual is not vaccinated, then there will be certain inconveniences that will come as they are to be subjected to periodic testing in order to prevent community transmission and for the early detection of outbreak.

Similarly, if one is vaccinated, the quarantine will not apply, but the current existing 7-day quarantine protocol from high to low risk will be applicable for those who are not vaccinated.

Also, they will have to undergo testing to get admitted in the hospital, and international travel may not be possible given the requirement of vaccination certificate by other countries.

Lyonpo Dasho Dechen Wangmo pleaded with those people who are not vaccinated to come forward and come complete the last leg.

Lyonpo said, “Just as a parent would put the happiness and welfare of their family first, His Majesty The King has shared thoughts about taking the vaccine only after every eligible person in the country received their shots safely. All individuals must come forward to make way for His Majesty to receive a vaccine as soon as possible.” 

The minister said that looking at the global situation, there is a huge issue about the availability and accessibility of the vaccine. There are many countries and individuals who are unable to get access to vaccine, and even the developed countries that are not able to provide vaccines to their people. Lyonpo thanked the Government of India for its generosity in giving the vaccine.

Lyonpo also highlighted the benefit of the vaccine. The minister reiterated that the Covishield vaccine, that Bhutan has rolled out, has an efficacy rate of 81 percent, which means it will prevent an individual from getting COVID-19, but at the same time, it will help if one gets COVID-19 as the immunization will prevent a person from getting severely ill.

Lyonpo said most Bhutanese live a traditional structured family, and knowing the current vaccine does not protect children below 18 years, it is an individual’s responsibility to protect them.

Lyonpo said the public must understand that vaccines are not the ultimate solution. It does provide some level of protection but 30 percent of the population are not vaccinated, and are still not protected. So every individual has the responsibility to continue non-pharmaceutical interventions like masking, social distancing and hand washing. 

Through reaching the unreached program, 4,100 people with disabilities were vaccinated.

Meanwhile, the mass vaccination program will continue till 13 April 2021.

The people with severe disabilities can register by calling toll free number 1010 or 1021 for home-based vaccination services. People who are in quarantine will be vaccinated at the end of their quarantine period.

After 13 April, the ministry will make the vaccine available in all the health facilities with an appointment system fulfilling the required number of eligible clients, a minimum of 10 at a time, to avoid vaccine wastage.

As of 12th April a total of 475,651 people have been vaccinated which is more than 94% of the eligible population.

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