Excess doses of AstraZeneca vaccine to be sent to Thailand

There are around 170,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine left in the stock after inoculating more than 95% of the total population in the country

After the request from the government of Thailand for vaccine support from Bhutan, the government is planning to send some excess doses of AstraZeneca vaccine to Thailand. 

Foreign Minister Dr Tandi Dorji told Business Bhutan that upon request by the government of Thailand, the government is planning to send the vaccine to them.

“We are calculating how many doses of vaccines are left with us,” the minister added.

Lyonpo said that the paperwork is already being done and currently in the process of signing a tripartite agreement between Bhutan, Thailand and AstraZeneca vaccine company. 

“If the agreement is signed, the government is planning to send the remaining 130,000 to 150,000 doses of the vaccine,” Lyonpo said. 

According to Lyonpo, as soon as the agreement is signed, the government can send the vaccine immediately. The agreement includes who all will be responsible for side effects of the vaccine and damages of the vaccine. 

An official from the foreign ministry said that Bhutan is sending excess vaccines upon request from the government of Thailand and as agreed by the donor agent. 

The official mentioned that currently in Thailand, the cases of COVID-19 are increasing daily. Restrictive measures like shopping malls closure and restricted movement in the evening from 8pm till morning in the 4am is imposed.

Meanwhile, the country administered more than 25,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine during the week-long second vaccination campaign.

According to the health ministry, there are around 170,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine left in the stock after inoculating more than 95% of the total population in the country. 

With the completion of the second dose of vaccination campaign in the country, a total of 95.6% of the total population were vaccinated. 

Regarding sending excess doses of AstraZeneca vaccine to Thailand, once the donor country agrees to the export conditions, the Drug Regulatory Authority (DRA) in Bhutan will also have to approve the export of the vaccine as per the existing protocol.

According to the press release from the WHO South-East Asia region, more than half a billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in the WHO South-East Asia Region, with more vaccine doses becoming available and countries scaling up efforts to rapidly expand coverage amid recurrent surge in cases. 

 It also states that as of August 6, 618.5mn doses have been administered. As many as 146mn people have received two vaccine doses and are fully vaccinated. 

A total of 489mn doses have been administered in India, which reached 8.6mn people on day one of its reinvigorated campaign in June. Thailand has administered 18mn doses of the vaccine.

The health ministry has also administered the first dose of the Moderna vaccine for children between 12 to 17 years in nine dzongkhags. 

The prioritized dzongkhags are Chukha, Sarpang, Samdrup Jongkhar, Samtse, Dagana, Pemagatshel, Zhemgang, Thimphu, and Paro given their potential risk for outbreak and population density.

According to the health ministry, around 97% of the eligible children in the nine dzongkhags were vaccinated. The ministry is also vaccinating additional children in Trashigang, Trashiyangtse, and Haa.

Dechen Dolkar from Thimphu