The war against coronavirus has begun

Prime Minister Dr Lotay Tshering received the COVID-19 vaccination at his quarantine centre, yesterday.   On his second day of the quarantine, special arrangements were made to ensure that the protocols were strictly adhered to while the vaccine is administered.
Lyonchhen returned to the country from Bangladesh on 25 March  and is undergoing 21-day mandatory quarantine.

Despite some adverse events reported from remote circles, around 80,000 people were inoculated on the first day of the nationwide vaccine rollout 

Lhakpa Tshering

The long wait to tackle the coronavirus pandemic is finally here. Now, with the Covid-19 vaccines made available – a historically unprecedented effort in the country – it’s time to step forward and get vaccinated and shed any apathy against getting vaccinated.

Ninda Dema, 30, an intellectual property officer with the Ministry of Economic Affairs became the first person to receive the Covid-19 vaccine in the country

From lighting a thousand butter lamps with prayers from historic Simtokha Dzong to Lungtenzampa MSS, a 30-year-old Ninda Dema, born in the monkey year – in line with Buddhist astrology – was inoculated with the first dose of the vaccine by Sister Tshering Zangmo, also born in the same year and of the same age, at the auspicious time of 9:30-am.

This marks the nationwide vaccination drive to inoculate the eligible 533,000 people after Prime Minister Dasho Dr Lotay Tshering became the second recipient of the vaccination drive at the quarantine center – undergoing 21-day mandatory quarantine after returning from the state visit to Bangladesh.

Subsequently, over 50 family members of the Prime Minister including his 80-year-old parents and his spouse Dr Ugyen Dema (health professional), who is a breastfeeding mother of their one-year-old child, were vaccinated in the first lot.

Prime Minister said the Covid-19 vaccine is one of the safest vaccines and its protective advantages far outweigh the risks posed by the disease. “I have no doubt that this is the beginning of the end of the Covid-19 pandemic,” he said, also thanking the unwavering support and hard work on this long-awaited Covid-19 vaccination day.

Lyonchhen said the unique strategy to carry out nationwide vaccination within a specified time frame emanated from His Majesty’s guidance and wisdom. “It is the fastest and surest way of attaining herd immunity against the disease,” he added.

Given the infection rate of the disease, Lyonchhen said we need above 70 percent coverage in order to attain the desired herd immunity. “With the overwhelming support of all Bhutanese, we will be one of the first countries to achieve that,” he said.

Except for Health Minister Dasho Dechen Wangmo, all other Cabinet ministers were vaccinated, some received while on the tour to their constituency. The Health Minister will take the jab with the frontline workers at the end of the campaign as she has to oversee the vaccination campaign.

Foreign Minister Dr Tandi Dorji, who was vaccinated at Lungtenzampa, said, “So far we have come through this together to prevent the spread of the virus and we must continue to act together. I hope all the eligible people will come forward to get vaccinated.”

Going by the turnout on the first day, the number of vaccines was ahead of the required number of a daily average turnout of about 76,200 people to cover the entire eligible population in a week-long campaign. The campaign would continue to clean up, if any, even after a week.

National Immunization Technical Advisory Group (NITAG) has been continuously monitoring any AEFI reported in the system