More than 8,500 people reported having some reactions after Covid-19 vaccine

Health ministry is also exploring COVID-19 vaccine for the young age group

The health ministry administered the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine to 472,139 individuals and more than 8,500 people reported having some sort of adverse reactions to the vaccine.

The health minister shared this during a press briefing on Thursday.

According to the health ministry, almost 94% of the total eligible population has received the vaccine. However, around 37,000 eligible people are yet to come forward for the vaccination.

Health Minister Dasho Dechen Wangmo said the vaccination program will end on April 13. The vaccination will be carried out for people who have deferred their jabs due to reasons such as pregnancy among others.

“The ministry has a program called “Reaching the unreached program”. This program is to cater to people who are bedridden, people who are severely disabled, who cannot come out of their houses,” Lyonpo said, adding that the ministry is providing vaccination services at the doorsteps and at their homes.

Lyonpo shared that after April 13, the ministry will make the vaccine available in all the health facilities, but a person will have to wait because each vial of vaccine has ten shots.

“So unless ten people are registered, we will not vaccinate individuals,” she said. 

“People might be asked to wait after April 13. Although the vaccine will be available, it will not be readily available for you to avail,” the Lyonpo added.

However, the 2nd dose of the vaccination will be planned after eight to 12 weeks of the first dose.

Lyonpo Dasho Dechen Wangmo said that a person is not fully protected until he/she gets the second jab and she also urged people to follow the COVID-19 safety protocols even after getting vaccinated.

Meanwhile, the government will review the existing restrictions and decide on its relaxations only after the second dose of the COVID vaccine is administered.

The ministry is also vaccinating the rest of the eligible population who were not vaccinated during the nationwide vaccination campaign.

Lyonpo shared that through reaching the unreached program, the ministry has reached out to more than 4,000 individuals living with disabilities till date.

“Some are very severe, bedridden, and some mild. It was equally a successful program beyond our expectation,” said the Health Minister.

She also said that those who are not vaccinated will be under the surveillance of the health ministry.

“If you are not vaccinated you will be monitored by the health ministry’s surveillance team and you will be subjected to periodic testing,” Lyonpo said, adding that this is to prevent community transmission and to help in the early detection of the outbreak.

The Lyonpo added that it will also be difficult for them to travel abroad as many countries are making it mandatory to have vaccination records. “If you are not vaccinated, you will have to undergo testing even to get admission to a health facility,” the Lyonpo added.

Kinley Yonten from Thimphu