New Delhi, Jul 13 (EFE).- Bhutanese authorities announced on Tuesday that 500,000 anti-Covid vaccines had arrived in the country after an appeal to the international community to salvage their vaccination drive, which had been affected by India restricting vaccine exports.
On Monday night Bhutan received the first batch of 500,000 Moderna vaccines, developed in the United States, through the COVAX program – the World Health Organization’s initiative to supply anti-Covid vaccines to developing countries – Bhutanese Prime Minister Lotay Tshering said in a statement Tuesday,
In the next few days, the COVAX program will ensure the supply of 5,850 Pfizer vaccines, apart from Denmark, Croatia and Bulgaria offering 350,000 AstraZeneca vaccines and 50,000 Sinopharm doses arriving from China.
The international community has offered aid after Thimphu sought help in administering the second vaccine dose to its entire population.
Bhutan had vaccinated almost its entire adult population with the first dose in March thanks to a donation of 550,000 vaccines by India.
However, New Delhi suspended its exports in April to prioritize domestic needs, which left the Himalayan country without suppliers for the second round of the vaccine, even as a deadline set by experts approached.
Now Bhutan has sufficient vaccines to immunize its entire population of around 800,000, which has led to the prime minister urging the international community to divert their aid towards other nations in need.
“Vaccines are certainly a most scarce community at this time, so we are grateful to have so much support from the international community,” Tshering said.
The authorities expect to complete the inoculation of its adult population by Jul. 20.
“The vaccines are a hope for normalcy to return and a critical step towards controlling the pandemic that has upended the lives of children and young people across the world,” the UNICEF representative in Bhutan, Will Parks, said in a statement.