Bhutan has once again achieved an impressive task of vaccinating more than 90 percent of its eligible adult population within one week, drawing global acclaim once again.
If that was not enough, the country has now started vaccinating those between 12 and 17 which has the potential to push us close to the targeted 80 percent herd immunity especially once the students get their second dose four to eight weeks later.
The above should be cause for some small celebration and self congratulation, but now is exactly the time to guard against complacency.
The delta variant has already proven itself to have vaccine escape properties and there are other new variants which can easily cut through even a vaccinated population that is not careful.
It was only in May 2021 that the CDC of the USA said that fully vaccinated Americans could do away with their facemasks, however, the USA saw a surge of delta cases and the CDC has asked even fully vaccinated Americans to put their masks back on.
In neighboring India, there are two matters of concern. One is that while the cases have plateaued it has done so at a high number which means that there is still a lot of transmission going on and it is only a matter of time before cases go up which is happening.
India is predicted to see a third wave hit it and when it comes it will impact Bhutan too.
While full vaccination provides much better protection than those who are not, there are two issues to consider for Bhutan.
The first is that a large proportion of the population who are children are not vaccinated at all. A spread among them would be disastrous for our future generations.
The second issue is that the spread of variants like delta have considerably reduced the protection given by two doses of vaccines against infection. This is why it is still possible to be infected even if you are fully vaccinated.
The vaccines though prevent serious illness in most cases which is its main aim.
“Don’t ever take a fence down until you know why it was put up.”