Prime Minister Dasho (Dr) Lotay Tshering clarified the facts of the Covishield vaccine (Oxford-AstraZeneca) during a Live Session on Facebook since a growing number of people were confused and worried about the side effects of the vaccine.
The Prime Minister said Covishield vaccine which Bhutan received recently has gone through all the three phases of trial testing. The PM also highlighted on the safety of the vaccine, saying there are two considerations, one is will the vaccine be safe for the body after being vaccinated and other one is its efficacy.
The PM said there are no life threatening side effects but there might be minor side effects which is there in other vaccines too. The PM said that the country has more than 10 different types of vaccines such as TT vaccine, Polio, Diphtheria, MMR, flu shots, they all have minor side effects. However, if any vaccines have life threatening effects then no vaccines would get the approval for vaccination.
He said one may experience dizziness, low fever, little swelling and redness at the vaccinated place because it shows that the body is reacting to the vaccination and producing antibodies which is a good sign, said the PM.
When one is vaccinated, there will be three types of body reactions and its benefits. After being vaccinated, for some there will be no reaction from the body and it is a rare case. The vaccine would protect one from getting the COVID-19 virus and also protection from the infection of COVID-19.
People who are vaccinated can either infect the others or they may not. It will all depend on the individual’s immune protection.
The PM said that the most important fact is that if a person is vaccinated, they are protected from the virus and even if a person tests positive for the virus after getting a jab, the person may not have to visit hospital unlike now where every individual who tested positive are kept in the hospital.
The PM also explained that the vaccination is always for protection and not for recovering from infections. Similarly, COVID-19 vaccine is for protection and those who are already infected will not be vaccinated rather they will be given vaccine after they recover.
The PM said that per the Serum Institute in India, Covishield vaccine will give about 90 percent or more immune protection if the second dose is given three months after the first dose. He said the second jab can be taken between 4 to 12 weeks after the first jab. Bhutan will start the second jab about a month after the first jab.
The PM said that reason for not vaccinating children below 18 years old, pregnant women, breastfeeding mother is not because they should not get vaccinated or there are some complications. He said that the Covishield vaccine has not been tested on children below 18 years which is the reason why they are not eligible for the vaccine.
He said pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers are not eligible as per their guidelines for now. He said the vaccine will not cause infertility.
Meanwhile the mass vaccination will start after ‘Dana Month’. Indian government has assured to cover the two doses requirement of Bhutan’s target population of slightly over 533,500 and has committed to deliver the remaining consignments soon.
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