Vaccines will be provided to priority population first when Bhutan gets them: Health Minister

During the Friday Press briefing, the Health Minister Dechen Wangmo said that Bhutan like many other nations has been assured of vaccines for at least 20% of the population should the final trials for the vaccines get approved.

She said that The Global Alliance for Vaccine and Immunisation (GAVI) which is a global health partnership of public and private sector organization has been informed and the foreign minister is currently looking into the matter.

She said that so far there has not been an officially approved vaccine in the world but there are 3 vaccines which have finished processes for the 3rd phase and are currently almost ready and implementable.

However, she said “Many countries would participate in this, and perhaps there might be difference in the vaccine effect on a foreigner’s body and a Bhutanese body”.

She said that firstly a clinical trial has to be carried out to which Bhutan has already expressed interest for the trial.

She added, “Similarly what many people have to understand is that even if we have the financial capabilities, initially it would be tough to obtain enough number of vaccines”.

She said that the situation of the COVID-19 is still ongoing in many parts of the world, citing example of second waves in Japan and Korea which she says would further contribute to the scarcity in vaccine supplies.

Therefore, the Health Minister said that there is a health committee team identified from the ministry and they would determine the priority groups for vaccine usage initially. She added “According to international standards, the vaccines are firstly given to health frontline workers like doctors, nurses and others and secondly to the elderly and the vulnerable population (NCD, disabled)”.

The committee will determine and assess the priority groups.

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