Bhutan has set a new record for its nationwide coronavirus disease (Covid-19) vaccination drive, managing to inoculate 90% of its entire population with both doses of the anti-Covid shot in a matter of just seven days. According to Bhutan’s health ministry, the vaccines that were received from foreign donations were used up in this inoculation drive.
Bhutan was able to restart its drive last week after half a million doses of Moderna vaccine arrived from the United States as a donation under the U.N.-backed COVAX program, an initiative devised to give countries access to coronavirus vaccines regardless of their wealth.
Some 5,000 shots of Pfizer were also facilitated through COVAX, which is co-led by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, the World Health Organization and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovation. It also received more than 400,000 AstraZeneca shots from Denmark, Croatia and Bulgaria in the last two weeks.
Bhutan, situated between India and China, has a population of less than eight lakh. The Himalayan kingdom started vaccinating its population with the second dose of the Covid-19 shot from July 20 and within seven days i.e. by July 27 (Tuesday), 90% of the entire population had been fully vaccinated, said the country’s health ministry.
Bhutan’s government is also led by medical practitioners. The prime minister, the foreign minister and the health minister are all medical professionals. And frequent messaging from the government, which directly answers questions from the public about the coronavirus and vaccinations on Facebook, also helped combat vaccine hesitancy among citizens.