According to the Foreign Minister, there are 61,700 doses of surplus vaccine in the country
While the government’s priority is mass vaccination, Foreign Minister Dr Tandi Dorji during the National Assembly session yesterday said if the supply of the second dose of the AstraZenenca vaccine does not arrive by the end of this month, the government will be looking into vaccinating those residing in high-risk or border areas from the available surplus vaccine.
The Lyonpo informed this while responding to the question raised by the Member of Parliament (MP) of Nanong-Shumar constituency, Lungten Namgyel.
The MP said Phuentsholing Thromde’s situation with COVID-19 cases is critical compared to other Dzongkhags with the lockdown prolonging to 56 days. The MP asked the minister on the availability of the surplus vaccines at present.
“If the vaccines are sufficient, it would be immensely beneficial to go for the second dose of vaccination for the people residing in Phuentsholing Thromde,” said Lungten Namgyel.
Lyonpo Dr Tandi Dorji said the COVID-19 situation in Bhutan is not worse compared to other countries as none of the positive cases require oxygen support from the current total cases of 328 as of June 10.
It indicates that the first dose of vaccine was beneficial, said Lyonpo.
Additionally, the minister said if they get the second dose before the end of this month, all the eligible population would be vaccinated.
“The second dose have to be vaccinated within 12 weeks and after the completion of this month, we will start vaccinating, “said Lyonpo.
He said there are 61,700 doses of surplus vaccine in the country and the second doses are provided to those going for studies abroad, and for medical referral cases abroad.
The Lyonpo said the surplus vaccines will also be provided to those who have not vaccinated earlier, to pregnant mothers and breastfeeding mothers.
However, he said to vaccinate those residing in Phuentsholing Thromde or high-risk areas would depend on the National Immunisation Technical Advisory Group’s (NITAG) recommendation and it was already in the plans if the second dose do not arrive on time.
Moreover, he said the National COVD-19 Taskforce will take the decision for whom to give the second dose of the vaccine.
The Lyonpo said vaccinating all the eligible population across the border would require 72,753 doses of vaccine including 21,189 in Phuentsholing, about 11,000 in Samdrup Jongkhar, about 15,000 in Samtse, about 2,000 in Dagana, 6,230 in Nganglam, Pemagatshel and about 2,000 in Zhemgang.
Thukten Zangpo from Thimphu