First dose of vaccines expected to arrive by March: Foreign Minister

Few still doubtful over Covid-19 vaccine

Officials from the Ministry of Health say there is no evidence linking blood clots to the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine

While Prime Minister Dasho Dr Lotay Tshering, during his address to the nation on Wednesday, refuted all misconceptions related to the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, few people that Business Bhutan talked to are still in a dilemma of whether to get the vaccine.

Their concerns are following issues reported in other countries, such as death cases and some with symptoms and other warning signs.

Going by what is happening globally, the BBC reported that some 13 European countries have paused the use of the vaccine. The countries are seeking further clarification on the safety of the Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine. Countries like France, Germany, Spain, and Italy are awaiting an investigation by the EU’s regulator into reports of clots in a small number of recipients.

It has also been reported that three health workers, who had recently received the Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine, in Norway are being treated in hospital for bleeding, blood clots, and a low count of blood platelets.

Additionally, one Indian media reported that nine people died and 16 were hospitalized till now in India, but it was also reported that none of the deaths are linked to the Covid-19 vaccination.

Accordingly, many people are in a dilemma of whether to receive the jab or not after hearing news from different countries.

One of the applicants said he registered for the vaccination due to fear that the government might impose restrictions on travel to other Dzongkhags and travel to other countries.

He said most of the people are unwillingly registering for the vaccination because of fright.

Another person said he registered to get the vaccination at a later date by registering on the last date.

“I saw many people registering after the announcement date, so I managed to get registered too,” he said.

A 50-year-old woman said she is tensed and is in a dilemma of whether to get the vaccination after seeing the news of people getting blood clots and other symptoms.

She said that it would be better if the government could wait a bit longer and see the results and reasons behind such symptoms.

However, officials from the Ministry of Health (MoH) said there is no evidence linking blood clots to the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine.

According to the ministry, AstraZeneca has clarified that there is no evidence of vaccine increasing blood clot risk. EU regulators also say there is no indication that the vaccine is linked to blood clots, and European Medicine Agency had said that there is no evidence linked to the vaccine (while an investigation is ongoing). Even the World Health Organization (WHO) says the risk is very minimal and the investigation is underway.

According to the MoH, there will be no changes in the roll-out plan unless investigation validates the adverse event reported and if the WHO recommends to halt the vaccination.

Prime Minister, during his address to the nation, said around 536,000 individuals are eligible for the vaccine, 470,000 have registered for the vaccine and around 7,000 individuals are not sure of the vaccine.

Lyonchhen added, “We know there is no link between the vaccine and blood clotting.” 

Tenzin Lhamo from Thimphu