Thukten Zangpo

The vaccine breakthrough infection is 75 percent with two doses of vaccine and 25 percent with a third or booster dose, according to the Covid-19 Technical Advisory Group (TAG).

A vaccine breakthrough infection happens when a fully vaccinated person gets infected with Covid-19.

TAG member Dr Sithar Dorjee said that two doses of vaccine provide only about 25 percent protection against the Omicron variant, according to studies.

He added that 75 percent of the people who have received the second dose still suffer from infection even if it has been 14 days since vaccination, when they are considered to be fully vaccinated.

Dr Sithar Dorjee said that the vaccine effectiveness rate increases to 75 percent with the third dose, which means only 25 percent will suffer from an infection.

“Despite Omicron being highly transmissible, we are not getting as many cases as expected in Phuentsholing. We could have seen a huge surge in cases if we had not received the booster dose, and if people were not compliant with public health measures,” he said.

Dr Sithar Dorjee said that 99 percent of the local cases detected in the country are fully vaccinated, excluding the children.

Fully vaccinated people with a vaccine breakthrough infection are less likely to develop serious illness than those who are unvaccinated.

“Vaccination reduced the hospitalisation rate by 75 percent,” Dr Sithar Dorjee said.

Prime Minister Dr Lotay Tshering said that vaccination would not be able to prevent outbreaks because there will still be breakthrough infections. “However, vaccines give good protection from having a severe case of the disease.”

He also said that the principle of herd immunity could not be followed, given the viral infection and reinfection.

As of yesterday, the vaccine coverage stands at 99.60 percent for the priority groups. 

The priority groups include 18 years and above residing in high-risk areas, people 65 years of age and above, people over 18 years old who are living with chronic medical conditions, health workers, front liners, and outbound travellers.

Meanwhile, 97.5 percent of the eligible population above 12 years of age are vaccinated with the first dose, and 93.4 percent received the second dose.