Bhutan has a rich culture of starting any function coinciding with a good day ‘zakar.’ It is a country bestowed by ‘tendrel’ to begin auspiciously to end it on a successful note.
While it had always been our culture to revert back to our spiritual roots for guidance, the fact that it has worked well for us gives us all the more reason to cling to these beliefs and make them our stepping stones for better results. The fight against the coronavirus also bears a similar story.
In combating COVID-19, Bhutan has kept positive legacy making stronger, more transparent, and better performing health systems, and leaving the country better positioned to cope with future pandemics and health crises, ensuring that people, no matter where they live, have access to good quality health services.
The nationwide rollout of vaccination kick started with prayers and ritual on 30 year ‘treloma’ female born in monkey year. This is in accordance with the astrological recommendation to start inoculations. Even the vaccines were ritually cleansed right after its arrival at Paro International Airport.
In Mongar it was Karma Pema Wangmo a 30 year Desuup who received covidshield vaccine in presence of His Majesty the King during the Royal Tour in the east.
In Thimphu it was Ninda Dema a chosen 30 year woman for the nation to take the first dose of covidshield. It was followed by ministers and other dignitaries. The prime minister took his jab at quarantine facility.
Similarly, in every dzongkhag the first covidshield jab was administered to a 30 year old woman by a 30 year old injector followed by Lam Netens, Dzongdags, MPs, Drangpons, officials followed by public. This became uniqueness of Bhutan to administer the COVID-19 vaccine in comparison to global vaccination trend.
Amid the fevered speculation about which COVID-19 vaccine will be successful, the legacy was set by our leaders. We need to ensure that this is done in a way which builds trust and consensus. These examples brought positive impact in public in casting away the minor fueling skepticism and distrust, worsening the pandemic and costing lives viewing few global scenarios.
If we are to defeat COVID-19 it is critical that we get this right. With so much effort invested in developing a successful vaccine by other country and transporting in the country, we cannot afford to fail at the last mile.
The vaccination program is designed to ensure that the public receive their full immunization schedule. The distribution of vaccine has reached across the country, yet, there are many issues still to be resolved in what may shape up to be one of the biggest technical logistic.
A lack of robust and comprehensive health information systems with poor developed internet system is making the program lengthy. National technical team should develop a system that work smoothly.
Nonetheless, there were no report of any adverse effect and vaccines did not give room for skeptics to discredit vaccines.
The nationwide COVID-19 vaccination is going at its unprecedented pace and a lot rests on its success. However, we already have an impending belief that at that has begun end will also definitely end well too.