The importance of the second jab

Bhutan is all set to roll out the second nationwide Covid-19 vaccination on Tuesday next week going by the consignments of the Covid-19 vaccines that the government has successfully managed to procure so far and the additional consignments that would be arriving in the country.

At least there is nothing to fret about the supply of the vaccines for now. A consignment of 500,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine reached the country on July 12 as a gift from the US government through the COVAX facility to Bhutan. This consignment from the US means that Bhutan now has enough vaccines for the second dose for people above 18 years and the first dose for children between 11 and 17 years.

Further, of the committed 250,000 doses, Bhutan received 121,900 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine from Denmark on July 13. The remaining doses are expected to arrive in the coming week.

Meanwhile, more than 560,000 people have registered as of July 11 for the second jab. It’s good that more people are coming forward for vaccination because it is undeniably the safest way to gain immunity to the coronavirus. We need two doses of the Covid-19 vaccine to get the greatest possible protection.

Why many of us must go for the second jab is to make our immune response put what it’s learned into practice, while the first jab would have already taught our immune system how to identify the coronavirus. This strategy of two doses, also known as ‘prime boosting’, has been reportedly proven to be an effective strategy against the Covid-19.

Studies show that protection against COVID-19 was found to be greater after the second dose of both the AstraZeneca and the Pfizer vaccinations and that both were also found to be more effective against the delta variant after two doses.

Another reason why we must get the second dose is because of the added danger of the Delta – the new coronavirus variants which have become a concern. Vaccination and vaccination coverage have, therefore, become all the more important now because of the outbreak of this highly transmissible Delta variant in the country. For Bhutan to secure herd immunity from the Delta variant, it has been estimated that at least 80% of the total population needed to be vaccinated.

We managed 65% coverage during the first vaccination roll out. For Bhutan, whose projected population in 2021 is 756,129, it means that more than 604,000 people must be vaccinated this time to achieve herd immunity.

Each and every one of us must, therefore, do our part by getting the shot this time and help achieve the so-called herd immunity. It is only by achieving herd immunity with safe and effective vaccines that would make the disease rarer and save lives. That’s our only option, at least for now.