When Bhutan had the first case followed by imported cases in quarantine and the first local transmission outbreak in Phuentsholing we all desperately prayed for a vaccine.
The situation became even more dire during our second outbreak in December 2020 as we saw how quickly the virus could come in and spread despite our best efforts.
For a while, we even wondered whether we will even recover from the second outbreak and if local transmission would spread out of control.
We all bore witness to the tremendous health and economic impact the virus had around the world. While we largely escaped the health impact by containing the virus we continue to suffer the economic impact.
Even on the health front, a follow up by the paper on seven former patients showed that five of them suffered from long term impacts due to the virus ranging from fatigue to loss of smell to forgetfulness.
The virus has been shown to attack almost all the organs of the body and its long term impacts are still being revealed.
While we have one death from COVID-19 three other co-morbid patients also died after clearing COVID-19, and they could not be taken off the ventilator. Doctors acknowledge that COVID would have made their condition worse.
A third wave which will most probably come with a mutant variant will be even more infectious and thus more deadly.
Bhutanese cannot afford to be confused and indecisive. We must come together for our individual and collective health.
On the economic front His Majesty’s Kidu, loan interest waivers and loan waivers saved the day. However, we cannot continue imposing such burdens on our limited resources for an extended time period, and so the vaccine is the only way to continue and enhance our economic activities.
The vaccine is the only way for now to safeguard our health and our economic well being. The alternative is not even worth contemplating.
Vaccines save lives; fear endangers them.