Health minister urges public to come forward and get vaccinated to avoid similar tragedies   

Younten Tshedup  

Five days before the country rolls out the second dose of Covid-19 vaccine, an 82-year-old woman living in Gomtu, Samtse, died with the disease at the RIGSS isolation ward in Phuentsholing yesterday.  She was not vaccinated.

After contracting the disease about a week ago, the woman died following complications from multiple medical conditions she was already associated with. The woman had congestive heart failure, asthma, chronic kidney failure, hypertension, and diabetes.

The woman was referred to the Covid-19 isolation ward in Phuentsholing on July 14 after her condition started deteriorating. Health officials said that she had difficulty in moving around and carrying out day-to-day activities, which was why she was moved from Gomtu to the isolation facility in Sipsu, Samtse.

It was learnt that the woman was moved to isolation along with her daughter who tested positive for Covid-19 on July 5. Her son-in-law and grandson also tested positive later.

Sources said that her 85-year-old husband was out when the house they were living in was declared a red cluster in Gomtu. He has not tested positive for the virus yet.


Vaccination is must  

Besides the multiple pre-existing medical conditions, the deceased had not taken the Covid-19 vaccination.

Sowai Lyonpo (health minister) Dechen Wangmo said: “Our deepest condolences to the family members, many of whom are currently in isolation.”   

 Lyonpo said that the reason why the government was pushing for mass vaccine coverage in the country was to prevent such misfortunes. She said that the efficacy of the Covid-19 vaccine came in two forms — minimising the risk of transmission and averting hospitalisation and mortality from the disease.

“It is a proven fact that Covid-19 vaccines can help reduce the rate of transmission by almost 60 to 70 percent. But it is also proven that vaccination can reduce the risk of hospitalisation and mortality by almost 95 to 96 percent,” she added.

Lyonpo said that 48 individuals who are above 70 years old have tested positive in the ongoing outbreak. Of the total cases, 24 of them were comorbid (had more than one existing medical condition. “45 of the 48 people had received their first dose of the vaccine and all of them have recovered now.”

Prime Minister Dr Lotay Tshering posted that the highly infectious disease (Covid-19) was known for complicating the health of those infected, especially among elderlies and people living with underlying medical conditions.

Lyonchhen said: “In offering deepest condolences to her family and loved ones, let us also make her life count by drawing more courage and strength to hold out against the pandemic that is far from over. Please ensure that you abide by Covid norms, while we continue to be guided by His Majesty and put up a relentless battle until the end.”

As of 6pm yesterday, a total of 2,380 Covid-19 positive cases has been confirmed in the country since March 5, 2020.

The country’s first casualty from the pandemic was recorded on January 7 earlier this year in a 34-year-old man who also had underlying medical conditions. The deceased, who was a known case of chronic liver disease, was under medical treatment after he tested positive for Covid-19 on December 23 last year.

Edited by Tshering Palden