New Delhi, Jul 25 (EFE).- Bhutan on Monday completed its anti-Covid vaccination campaign by fully vaccinating 100 percent of its adult population, after the international community acted on the country’s appeal to donate the necessary doses.
Thus, Bhutan has become the first country in the world to complete both rounds of vaccination for its entire population eligible to get immunized.
“It is very important to acknowledge that the vaccination campaign in Bhutan, as in many other countries, has mainly been possible due to the donations that have arrived from different countries,” UNICEF representative in Bhutan Will Parks, who is part of the national vaccination program, told EFE.
Bhutan had vaccinated almost its entire adult population with the first dose in March mainly 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.
The campaign was salvaged in July after the United States donated 500,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine through the COVAX program, the World Health Organization’s initiative to supply anti-Covid vaccines to developing countries.
The aid from the international community arrived two days after the Bhutanese government sought help to administer the second dose to its population of 800,000, as the drive had been jeopardized due to export restrictions by India.
Parks said that even though the first dose of the vaccine administered to the Bhutanese had been AstraZeneca’s Covishield, 95 percent of the population chose to take Moderna as the second dose, even though 350,000 doses of Covishield were available.
Meanwhile a little over 5,800 doses of US vaccine Pfzier, received through the COVAX program, will be given to around 2,000 children living in the southern districts, which are difficult to access due to the country’s tough terrain.
The secluded South Asian country, which has for years resisted opening up its borders for foreigners in order to preserve local customs, was unable to prevent the coronavirus from affecting its population.