Nima Wangdi 

The health assistant (HA) of Merak basic health unit (BHU), who instructed the caretaker of the BHU to administer Covid-19 vaccine in April this year, was compulsorily retired with benefits.

Trashigang dzongkhag’s 39th human resource committee (HRC) meeting reviewed their previous resolution on the case and decided on the case.

The HRC initially terminated the caretaker, who acted under the instruction of the HA.

It also decided to withhold the annual increment for the HA for three years and the annual increment for in-charge, who did not come on time to vaccinate for two years.

However, during the review, it was decided that the in-charge’s annual increment be withheld for five years.

According to sources, the HA was found to be fully accountable for the incident as he had instructed the caretaker to vaccinate people.

The HRC had found that he should be guilty of unethical instruction that affected both the caretaker and the public.

HRC had also decided that if the caretaker is terminated, the HA should also be liable for the same degree of penalty. He was then made to resign compulsorily.

Similarly, the HRC has found that the female HA, who failed to show up at the vaccination site on time that day was the main cause of the incident. “

The incident could have been prevented if she was in her office on time,” the HRC’s resolution stated.

It also stated that the HRC reviewed its decision based on the Bhutan Civil Service Regulation 2018.

The caretaker, who worked with the BHU for 11 years administered Covid-19 vaccine to 28 villagers on April 28. It was the fourth dose of the vaccine.

A villager lodged a written complaint to the dzongkhag health sector on the same day following which an investigation team went to Merak the next day.

The case was investigated and found to be true.

Merak is one of the remotest gewogs of Trashigang, home to the semi-nomadic indigenous highlanders with about 30 traditionally built houses. The village is at an elevation of 3,500 metres above sea level.