Yangyel Lhaden

A week-long nationwide second dose vaccination campaign for 83,277 children between five and 11 years will begin on April 4.

The first nationwide campaign which started on March 6 vaccinated about 97.25 children. Those who missed the campaign received the vaccine from the nearby health facilities.

A health official said that to date about 99 percent of children were vaccinated with the first dose.

He said that there should be at least a three-week interval between the first and second dose of the vaccine. “Children who have completed three weeks interval can avail the vaccine.”

Around 180,000 doses of Pfizer pediatric vaccine from the Pfizer Company were imported on March 2 and were distributed across the country.

A health official said that enough vaccines have been distributed across the country to vaccinate children with two doses. “We also have the backup vaccine to distribute to dzongkhags if there is a shortage.”

Children in the same age group who missed the first dose of the vaccine would also be vaccinated during the campaign. A health official said that children who have recently attained age five should also come forward for the first dose.  

He said that the campaign was effective in vaccine coverage and did not burden health facilities. “During vaccination campaign, more than 80 percent population is vaccinated in a short period of time.”

A health official said that health facilities would continue to provide vaccination for children who miss the nationwide campaign.

The location of vaccine centres would depend on the micro-plan of health facilities, gewogs, and dzongkhags, he added.

Meanwhile, according to the health ministry as of March 25, only 79.7 percent of children aged between 12 and 17 years have received the booster shot. About 93 percent of children aged between 12 and 17 are vaccinated with a second dose as of March 23.

Going by records, there are around 75,000 children in this age group.

Despite a weeklong coordinated mass vaccination campaign for children between 12-17 years, only 79.7 percent of the children have taken the shots. The vaccination campaign was organised starting March 12.

The booster vaccination campaign started by vaccinating some 26,800 students of classes X and XII after their board exams in their own containment centres. The second dose of the vaccine for the age group was administered on different dates depending on how risky the places they lived in were.