Irrespective of registration or documents, all eligible population are encouraged to take COVID-19 vaccine: MoH

512,905 people registered for the vaccine as of Friday

The Ministry of Health (MoH) is asking all the people residing in Bhutan to get the COVID-19 vaccination, irrespective of the need for verification documents or registration. Those who have already registered can bring along their CID cards, and for others who do not have one, there are options where they can be registered.

Senior Programme Officer, MoH, Sangay Phuntsho, said in order to deliver the COVID-19 vaccine more efficiently, zone-based movement will be followed. The vaccination post and venue mentioned through a SMS earlier remains nullified.

Since there were some issues of having an accurate data submitted by the respective clients, particularly giving the accurate present address, this has led to some error and confusion. So in order to ensure that every individual in the country has a smooth vaccination campaign it is zone-based now.

Head of the Office of Performance Management under His Majesty’s Secretariat, Karma Yonten, also gave details on how an individual can avail the vaccine in their zones. He said that since the zoning system has worked well in the country during the national lockdown, this is where the team thought it would be an efficient and convenient way to roll out the COVID-19 vaccine.

There are two key information that people need to know about the vaccination campaign are the location and the time. Both the location and time is stated in the zoning system and clearly printed on the movement cards. In terms of the locations, the vaccination centers will either be in the zones or in super zones. Since all the residents of Thimphu are already familiar with the zoning system, this will be easier for them to follow. 

The people with the movement cards with the morning timing can get their vaccination between 9 am to 11 am. The afternoon timing is between 11 am to 1 pm, and the evening time falls between 2 pm to 4 pm.

The people who have lost their movement cards, and the people not included in the zoning system, have been allocated between 4 pm to 5 pm timing to get their vaccination.

Based on the online registration system and calls, around 85,264 people have registered for COVID-19 vaccine in Thimphu. Based on the numbers and seven-day period, the health ministry has created about 28 vaccination centers in Thimphu and 76 vaccination teams will be administering the vaccination, said Karma Yonten.

Thimphu has 15 super zones and 12 self-contained zones. The self-contained zones will be administered separately.

Sangay Phuntsho said people who have not registered will be facilitated via on the spot registration. People will be screened, followed with brief Q and A, and can then go to the vaccination center.  Health workers will administer the vaccine and note down the time on their the person’s left hand. Everyone will then be placed in the mandatory observation room. Dessup and other volunteers manning the observation room will ensure that a person remains in the room for 30 minutes to see if there are any serious issues.

People can also note down the contact numbers of doctors and call if they experienced any side effect.

As for queries on inter-district movement, Sangay Phuntsho said during the one-week vaccination campaign, the inter-district movement would be restricted. However those who are not eligible for the vaccine will be allowed to move, and the other categories of population who can move are those completing the vaccination.

Also there will be no change in the quarantine period and it will remain the same as it is even though one gets the vaccine for the first time.

Only the identified schools will be closed until the vaccination program is over, and the rest of the schools will remain open as usual.

The public is requested to bring along any medical prescriptions they are on because a thorough screening of a person’s health condition has to made to see if a person needs to defer the vaccination, or get the vaccine through the medical facilities. Apart from medical prescription, one can bring water and fruits as snacks.

Meanwhile, the first recipient of the vaccine was Ninda Dema a 30-year old woman born in the Monkey year of the lunar calendar. She is an officer in the Intellectual Property Department. The vaccine administrator also has the same lunar calendar sign. 

She was followed by the Prime Minister and his relatives, a few of the ministers who got inoculated on the first day of the immunization. Each district has its own plans and rollout activities.

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