US delivers fifth vaccine donations to Bhutan

Charge D Affairs of the US Embassy in India, Patricia Lacina hands over adult Pfizer vaccines to health minister Dasho Dechen Wangmo

Bhutan received 51,480 doses of adult Pfizer vaccines from the US in its fifth donations

LHAKPA TSHERING

Thimphu

The United States of America since May 2021, through coordinated efforts with the COVAX facility, has delivered 681,020 vaccine doses to Bhutan including 51,480 doses of adult Pfizer vaccines in the fifth donation.

The donations include 147,420 adult Pfizer, 33,600 pediatric Pfizer, and 500,000 Moderna vaccines. It also committed to provide another 129,600 doses of pediatric Pfizer vaccine by December this year.

Chargé d’affaires of the US Embassy in India, Patricia Lacina, who was in the country, handed over the fifth donation of adult Pfizer vaccines to health minister Dasho Dechen Wangmo on 29 September in Thimphu.

Patricia Lacina said that while the US, through USAID, supported different development sectors in Bhutan, the health sector is one of the strongest corporations between the US and Bhutan.

“When the Covid-19 emerged, the US significantly increased our assistance to Bhutan highlighting the importance of our bilateral relationship,” she said, adding the US through USAID and CDC has provided assistance to Bhutan since the onset of the pandemic.

She said that the US is committed to strengthening its partnership with the government and people of Bhutan in the years to come as we overcome the pandemic.

“We continue to partner with Bhutan to strengthen its healthcare capacity for pandemic presentation, readiness, and response while also supporting micro-enterprises to help overcome the economic impacts of the pandemic,” she added.

The United States has been a proactive and instrumental partner in Bhutan’s efforts in combating the Covid-19 pandemic.

Health minister Dasho Dechen Wangmo said that the first donation from the US and United Nations arrived at the time when the virus was mutating. “We were extremely happy to have the vaccines,” she said.

Lyonpo said that the whole nation was apprehensive about when Bhutan would get the vaccines.

“In Bhutan, everybody knew that it wasn’t really the vaccine or the shot on your arm, but it was a sense of responsibility to protect the country, citizens, and community,” she said.

She said people from all walks of life came forward to inoculate which were the very factors that have brought us where we are today.

“If we look back in the public health interventions, I think this is historically for the first time where vaccines were developed at unprecedented place compared to other vaccines,” Lyonpo said.

In addition to the support for Bhutan’s vaccination efforts, USAID also provided funding support of USD 0.5 million to enhance the health sector’s Covid-19 emergency preparedness and response works.