Tests to be done 4 to 5 months after mass vaccination to monitor protective immunity effect

The Prime Minister on 28th January evening addressed the nation through the PMO official Facebook page that the mandatory quarantine for those traveling from high risk to low risk areas for now will be continued as it is.

As for those coming in from the bordering towns they will have to continue with the mandatory 7-day quarantine as the situation is different in terms of the risk that is still prevalent through those places.

 The PM said that even if we are able to vaccinate about 550,000 citizens, around 250,000 people would still fall under the category of being ineligible for the vaccine as the minor population under the age of 18, women bearing child or breast feeding are considered ineligible.

Therefore, the Lyonchhoen stated that the risk of community transmission would still be prevalent.

The PM in his personal viewpoint stated that even if these people, who were just under 18 were given the vaccine he feels that it should be safe enough.

He cited that in countries like the United Kingdom, pregnant women and breast feeding women are allowed to decide on personal consent.

The reason why under-18 people are considered ineligible is because of the legal requirement for signing consensus of undertaking.

The PM also said that even though people will be vaccinated, the protective immunity effect on Bhutanese will be monitored through blood tests and samplings in about 4 to 5 months after the mass immunization.

The test will also be done to see whether the people who might get transmitted with the virus in the future are the ones who got the vaccines or the ones who did not.

 People coming in from abroad are required to be under 21-day quarantine as is with the current policy.

The PM said that once both the host country and other countries have enough people vaccinated, both the parties will probably prepare different policies accordingly by then.

Therefore, in accordance to the situation of the pandemic, the PM said that there will be need for future consultations and briefing about it whenever it is viable.

The PM added, “For now, whether it is Bhutanese travelling in from abroad or others, 3 week quarantine is still in effect and perhaps in the later stages there might be reduction to 2 weeks or 1 week accordingly.”

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