Foreign Minister Dr Tandi Dorji

Foreign Minister responds on possibility of providing second dose to Phuentsholing first

As Phuentsholing Thromde continues to detect positive cases, Member of Parliament (MP) of Nanong Shumar, Lungten Namgyal said if the vaccines are sufficient enough to go for second round of second dose for the people residing in Phuentsholing Thromde where the situation is critical compared to other dzongkhags. The MP said this would be immensely beneficial for the people down there.

In response, Foreign Minister Dr Tandi Dorji said although positive cases are detected every day, the situation down there is not as bad as in the rest of the countries for now. Of the total 328 positive cases in the country, no one has come to the situation where the patients have become critical and it is all due to the first dose of vaccine and this shows that the vaccines have benefitted Bhutan.

The foreign minister said there are about 61,700 vaccines left in the country as of Thursday. For now, the left over vaccines are given to those who are going abroad for studies and patients referred outside for treatment. These groups are given their second doses.  Also, during the first dose of vaccines campaign, pregnant mothers and breast feeding mothers who are not vaccinated are provided with the vaccine now.

The second dose is to be provided in between 12 weeks after the first dose, and by the end of this month, the second dose was supposed to be given. On, the MP’s concern over the rising case in Phuentsholing and the second dose, the Foreign Minister said Phuentsholing has about 21,189 individuals, and it will not be a problem to provide them with second dose of vaccines but Samdrup Jongkhar has about 11,000 individuals on the border, Samtse has 15,000, Sarpang has 9,000, Dagana 2,000, Pemagatshel has about 2,600. In total, if a second dose is to be provided in the southern border areas of the country, almost 72,753 vaccines are required.

So the government feels that if the second dose is also provided in a similar manner like how the first dose was provided, then this will be more effective and would benefit the country.

If the country receives a second dose of vaccine by this month, then the entire eligible population will be vaccinated by the end of the month and if not, as advised by the national immunization technical advisory team (NITAG) that second dose should be given to high risk places. However, the government will decide on this soon.

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