… says there will be no lockdown

Tshering Palden  

Bhutan will commence the nationwide Covid-19 vaccination on March 27, Prime Minister Dr Lotay Tshering said.

The government consulted the Central Monastic Body on the auspicious date to begin the vaccination. As per Buddhist astrology, a 30-year-old woman born in the year of Monkey will be the first to receive the vaccination.

Such measures, the Prime Minister said, were necessary to ensure that the campaign would succeed without any hindrances.

The government decided on kicking off the vaccination programme after the Government of India confirmed that the second consignment of Covishield comprising 400,000 doses will arrive from India on March 22.

The Prime Minister thanked India for supplying the vaccines as per the government’s request despite the shortage for domestic use.

The Central Monastic Body will conduct a three-day Sangay Menlha (Medicine Buddha) drupchen before the nationwide rollout.

Of the 536,000 who are eligible for Covid-19 vaccination in the country, 480,372 individuals have registered as of 5pm yesterday. Out of that, around 7,000 including pregnant women, and those will illness, have said that they did not want to vaccinate.

While it is a personal choice to vaccinate if a large number of people don’t vaccinate the society remains highly vulnerable.

Firstly, the vaccine will prevent a person from getting the Covid-19 virus. If in case a person is somehow infected, the symptoms would be minimal or non-existent and the chances of the person infecting others will be reduced.

Moreover, without the vaccination certificate, people could face inconveniences for both local and international travel.

He said that more than 350 million people have been vaccinated globally but the vaccination has not killed a single person as per studies. He also ruled out the connection of blood clotting with vaccination. “While a few countries have suspended the vaccination because of this, some countries have resumed vaccination,” he said.

Lyonchhen said, “Should we observe any surprise complications or side effects we’ll also suspend the vaccination.”

He said that the government then launch a study and ensure that the public is not harmed in any way.

Health personnel will visit homes to vaccinate those who cannot come to the vaccination centres, mainly disabled persons.

The second dose of the vaccine is planned between 8-12 weeks after the first dose. However, Lyonchhen said that the government will observe the trend globally and follow accordingly.

The vaccination rollout plan seems to have some minor changes. The health personnel will now get the jab after the nationwide campaign ends. While moving from one dzongkhag to another during the week-long vaccination would be restricted, it won’t be totally stopped. “Those with genuine reasons will be allowed to move but our request is to not travel at all,” Dr Lotay Tshering said.

“It’s my personal request to the public to register and get the Covid-19 vaccine,” he said.

The health ministry has asked the public to visit Bhutan vaccine system through https://bvs.moh.gov.bt to register for the COVID-19 vaccination.  The link is also available on www.gov.bt.

All above the age of 15 years should register irrespective of the eligibility criteria. For further queries, call 2121,  6060 or 1010.