First dose is not full protection

Bhutan’s national vaccination campaign is going well with large numbers of people getting vaccinated within a week to the extent that Bhutan is number two in the world when it comes to the share of people getting the first dose.

Our health workers and the public must be congratulated for this successful campaign.

However, as is often the case, success can lull us into a state of complacency as we found with our first and second outbreaks.

As pointed out by our health experts, it takes a good few weeks going up to a month for us to develop antibodies after the first dose that offers only partial protection.

It is only after the second booster dose that we get a higher level of protection and that too again after a few weeks after the second dose.

This means that Bhutan is still highly vulnerable to outbreaks for the next three to four months before we get our second dose and enough time has passed for antibodies to build.

However, even the second dose does not guarantee complete 100 percent protection as you can still be infected if you indulge in risky behavior. But what is also true is that once vaccinated and even if you get infected your chances of getting seriously ill or dying are much much smaller.

It is also important to remember that more than 200,000 of our population including our children and students are not yet eligible for vaccines and so they are still highly vulnerable. So we the vaccinated ones who can still carry on and pass the virus must be even more careful for their sake.

The confidence of one jab should not lead us to give up on important safety norms of wearing masks, social distancing, ventilating and washing our hands.

Too many countries have seen the virus coming back with renewed vigor just when they thought they overcame it. Let us not go down that path.

We must continue to carry on with COVID protocols for our protection as well as for our little ones who are still vulnerable.

“An incident is just the tip of the iceberg, a sign of a much larger problem below the surface.”Don Brown

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