More than 59,000 children, which accounts for 78.6 percent of the eligible children in the 12 to 17-years category, have been vaccinated with Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. There are around 20,000 children who have not received their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine as yet.
Health Minister Dasho Dechen Wangmo the second dose for them will be kicked off from second week of September as they have good good confirmation for the doses.
The second Pfizer dose is due sometime in the third week of September, as per the six-week interval recommendation made by the National Immunization Technical Team (NI-TAG).
As of now the country has around 1,000 plus Pfizer and around 10,000 Moderna vaccines in stock.
The health ministry is simultaneously working to secure the vaccines for both the first and second doses for the children, and also for the eligible population of around 20,000 who have received Moderna as their first dose, said the health minister.
Prime Minister Dasho (Dr) Lotay Tshering said most of the countries, themselves, are not able to vaccinate their own people. Since Bhutan is doing well in fighting COVID-19 with almost all the eligible population vaccinated with the second dose, that is why, requesting for the vaccines could be seen as inappropriate.
The PM outlined that Bhutan is also trying to get Pfizer and Moderna doses for those from 6 to 11 which is around 100,000 children as clearance for this is expected to be given by October or November in the USA.
Meanwhile, Dr Sonam Wangchuk of NI-TAG said as soon as the government gets the vaccines then the preference will be given to southern regions.
Dr Sonam said if the southern regions are protected with strong surveillance then the low-risk areas will be protected, unless there is a strong breach of COVID-19 safety protocols.
Children aged between 12 to 17 years in high-risk southern regions, including Thimphu and Paro, will be given the first priority to get vaccinated for the second dose.