MoH will soon roll out vaccines for under five but only for those with comorbidities

The Ministry of Health (MoH) may not vaccinate all the children from 6 months to 4 years, as only selected groups of under-five children with comorbidities are to be vaccinated.

An official from MoH said the ministry has pre-paid for 84,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine for 6 months to 4 years children. The health team is also observing the countries that have rolled out the COVID-19 vaccine for children under five.

Most countries are not rolling out vaccines for under five, as they are waiting for WHO to recommend the vaccination. It is only the CDC that has recommended the vaccination for under-five children.

The MoH official said children under five-years who get infected with COVID-19 rarely show any signs and symptoms as they are not much affected. It is mainly the individuals with comorbidities and immune-compromised ones that are at most at risk if they get infected.

The reason that most people are not infected or suffer from severe health complications is due to the herd immunity.

MoH is aware that the cases will increase once the borders reopen and “We can’t say there will not be risk upon reopening of borders but most of the people are vaccinated. However, it is in a planning stage,” said the MoH official.

As of 30 August 2022, for those under 5-11 years old, the ministry has covered 99 percent in the case of the second dose, 78 percent vaccine coverage for 12-17 for the third dose, and 63 percent coverage for 18 years and above for the fourth dose. MoH has completed providing the fourth dose to all vulnerable groups.

The second dose for children between the ages of 5 to 11 will be rolled out nationwide starting from 19 September until 20 October.

Meanwhile, MoH requests all eligible individuals 18 years and above to avail themselves of the fourth dose vaccine at the nearest health facilities. Thimphu will be providing the fourth dose every Friday in the Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Referral Hospital and in other satellite clinics. The other dzongkhags will also offer the fourth dose of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines to all eligible population.

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