All in stable condition but they will be required to take the second dose 

Younten Tshedup 

Talks of a second dose even as people queued for the first led to three people getting a second shot of the Covishield vaccine on the same day.

Since the rollout of the nationwide vaccination campaign on March 27, three people have accidentally received a double dose of the vaccine.

A 51-year-old monk in Samtse was the first person to receive the double dose on Saturday, the first day of the vaccination campaign on March 27.  It was unintended on the monk’s part and accidental on the health workers.  The monk is ‘absolutely fine’ and the incident passed as a blooper.

On his arrival at the vaccination station located at the Tashicholing gewog Administration office, the monk registered for the vaccine online. “They took my ID card and mobile numbers. I was then asked to join the line to get my vaccine.”

After receiving the injection, the monk, as mandated by the system, was escorted to an observation room. “While I was waiting in the room, people were talking about the second dose. They said that we needed to get the injection twice and in Samtse they were going to give us the second dose on the same day,” he told Kuensel.

He said that, while he was leaving the observation room after completing the 30 minutes, an official asked him to report his status and he was put back in the same line. “I didn’t ask anything as I thought this was being done for the second dose,” he said. “Even the person, who gave me the injection, didn’t ask me anything.”

As he was being escorted for another round of observation, officials saw the indelible ink mark on his thumbnail.

“I felt nothing. I heard of people getting sick after the vaccine but I didn’t experience any sickness even after two injections.”

Another person in Nganglam also accidentally got vaccinated twice on the same day.  In his case, sources said that he was not escorted properly to the observation room after the vaccine.

The 54-year-old man received the two doses consecutively without waiting for 30 minutes.  Kuensel learnt that the man was escorted only halfway to the observation room and, instead of going to the designated room, the man entered another vaccination room and got the second jab.

Health officials said that the online registration system was overwhelmed on the first day as more than a thousand people logged on the system at the same time. “We then resorted to manual registration. The monk in Samtse had registered online but when he registered, he was offline. Therefore, he couldn’t be traced on the system,” said an official.

Also, the lack of coordination among officials at the vaccination centres and the irregular flow of movement brought about by respective arrangements caused the inconveniences.

Officials said that the health ministry had already distributed a uniform concept explaining how a vaccination station needed to be set up across the country.   This included pre-screening before the vaccination and then escorting individuals to the observation room, followed by exit routes.

However, officials said that shortage of manpower and the overwhelming crowd, compounded by the irregular setup at the vaccination centres, led to the issues.

A third person in Zhemgang received two doses of the vaccine together on March 29, two days after the incident of the double dose in Samtse and Nganglam.

Health officials said that many assumed that the two doses of the vaccine could be taken together, which is not correct.

The official said that the second dose of the vaccine would be provided eight to 12 weeks after receiving the first dose. “We’d like to request people to consult the health workers or desuups on duty if they have any confusion with the vaccine or the process.”

He said that following the incidences, the ministry had asked respective centres to streamline and review the flow of movement of people at the vaccination centres to avoid similar incidents in the future.

Technically, although there are no contraindications associated with a double dose of vaccine, officials said that their concern was the extra dosage could intensify the minor side effects in the person who receives it. “This is because the first dose we’re injecting is the optimal dose used to trigger the body’s immune response.”

However, none of the three recipients experienced any additional side effects even after the second shot.  They will also be required to take the second dose as usual with the rest of the population when it is made available.

Meanwhile, 343,707 people were vaccinated as of yesterday, covering 68.6 percent of the eligible population.