Punakha geared up for mass Covid-19 vaccination

Punakha saw a total registration of 18,859

With 525 households and a population of more than 7,000 people in Guma gewog in Punakha, almost half of the residents are not sure and worried about taking the Covid-19 jab despite various advocacies carried by the gewog administration.  

The Guma gewog gup, Ugyen Khandu, however, assures his people that the Covid-19 vaccine is safe. And to prove it, he has volunteered to be the first from his gewog to take the Covid-19 vaccine during the mass vaccination campaign today.

Talking to Business Bhutan, Ugyen Khandu said, “I told my people that the vaccine is safe and to motivate and erase the fear from their minds, I volunteered to be the first person. I also told them that if anything happens to me then don’t take the jab. If not, one should not consider not taking the vaccine.”

He added that he is also one of the front-liners; if he does not lead by an example then the already confused people will be more perplexed and terrified.   

Despite his efforts to convince the people, there are still some who want to think about taking the vaccination. 

Meanwhile, Punakha has eleven gewogs and a projected population of 21,376 (18-years and above) with 58 identified vaccination posts.

Although the district has not identified who would be given the first jab of Covid-19 vaccine, according to sources the person will be from Punakha dratshang.   

The Punakha district saw an overall total registration of 18,915 for vaccination, while 2,976 people registered with medical conditions such as diabetics, hypertension, and asthma. 

The district received 18,050 doses of Covid-19 vaccine on March 25. Tsogi Lopen graced the Thruesel ceremony in front of Machen Kudung at Punadewachenpoi Phodrang.

Some of the residents of Punakha who Business Bhutan expressed their confusion, while some were positive about the vaccination.

Sangay, a businessman said, “After what I heard and read in media about the vaccination, I am not so sure about the vaccination. I am confused at the moment.”

Another Punakha resident, Namgay Lhamo said, “Everyone should take the jab, it will not only prevent from spreading Covid, we’ll have our life back to normalcy. People have suffered financially with the closure of their business, employees losing jobs in the tourism and hospitality sectors. I sincerely pray that the vaccine helps, and also urge people to get vaccinated, so we can fight against the virus.”

Gyem, 60-year-old from Changyul, said that although she is not sure about the vaccine, she will also get vaccinated with her family members as everyone is taking the jab.

27-year-old Sonam Choden from Changyul said that she has no reservation against the vaccine and is ready for the vaccination.

Another resident said, “I am not sure about the vaccine,” he said.

Bhutan received 150,000 doses of Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, Covishield from India on January 20, making Bhutan the first country to receive the vaccine. Meanwhile, the second consignment of Covishield comprising 400,000 doses will arrive from India on March 22.

A total of 536,000 people is eligible for the Covid-19 vaccination in the country. About 497,513 people registered through the Bhutan Vaccine System (BVS) for the Covid-19 vaccination as of March 23 of which 447,138 are eligible registered population. There are 86,375 people registered as with comorbid conditions.

A total of 1,001 vaccination posts has been identified across the country of which 363 are schools including ECCD centres. There are about 1,200 individuals registered with mobility issues (people who cannot walk) in the country.

Chencho Dema from Punakha