The vaccination team from Thimphu Dzongkhag visited Gaytala chiwog under Dagala Gewog, Thimphu Dzongkhag is one of the remotest chiwogs in the country and to go to Gaytala, one has to travel from Toktokha village under Chukha Dzongkhag and vaccinated 13 eligible people (6 male, 7 female) on 24 July 2021 with the second dose COVID-19 vaccine (Photo: Ministry of Health)

Bhutan en-route to setting another vaccine record with the second dose

According to Ministry of Health (MoH), 599,640 people have registered for Nationwide Second Dose Vaccination Campaign and a total of 454,186 people are already vaccinated, out of which 238,321 are male and 215,865 are female.

The second roll out was from 20 to 26 July 2021 which is a period of 7 days ending on Monday.

In the first phase Bhutan made a world record of sorts as the country with both the highest first doses at 64.2% and also accomplishing it in the shortest time.

Bhutan looks set to repeat that feat with the second dose.

On day one Bhutan vaccinated 99,356 people, followed by 95,232 people on day two, 87,648 people on day three, 67,091 people on day four, 50,812 in day five, 31,615 on day six and 22,432 on day seven.  A total of 3,320 people reported adverse reactions with the most common side effects being headache, fever and fatigue and injection side tenderness.

The National Immunization Technical Advisory Group (NITAG) member said more than 95 percent of the population has preferred Moderna vaccine and it is all because of advocacy and sensitization. They said people have understood the benefits of a mix and match of vaccines for their second dose after public examples set by the Prime Minister and others who came forward to take Moderna vaccine for the second dose.

People came forward and the campaign went smoothly as compared to the first vaccination campaign. Now that people have understood that the virus is highly transmissible and a huge number of positive cases have been reported in the Southern regions, the public have shown concern said a NITAG member.

People who could not come for the second dose of vaccine for some reasons during the vaccination campaign, can always go to their nearest health center and get themselves vaccinated after the campaign is over.

The NITAG member said it takes at least two weeks to develop antibodies, but some will develop them early while some people might develop little later.

After the second dose, relaxation will be a little difficult looking at the current situation. If the situation across the borders turns worse then it affects Bhutan too, so there will be some restrictions. However, the government will revisit the guidelines and protocols and will announce the changes if needed soon.

Phuentsholing and Samtse started their vaccination, in lockdown. Recognizing the relatively higher risk in these places, the ministry has also initiated the vaccination of children from 12-17 years with the Pfizer Phuentsholing, Samtse, Gomtu and Yotsheling. Children may or may not experience minor side effects, however, it is completely normal if any children experience it, said a NITAG member.

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