Bhutan’s ‘Success Story’: Following Donations, the majority of the population is vaccinated.
Bhutan has vaccinated the majority of its eligible population with Covid-19 vaccines for the second time in a week, in a rapid rollout praised by UNICEF as a “success story” for international donors on Monday.
Following a recent influx of foreign donations, more than 454,000 vaccinations were provided in the isolated Himalayan kingdom over the previous week, covering just over 85 percent of the eligible adult population of more than 530,000 people.
Will Parks, UNICEF’s Bhutan representative, praised the massive vaccination campaign as a “wonderful success story for Bhutan.”
“We truly need a world where countries with surplus vaccines donate to those countries that haven’t had (shots) yet,” he told AFP in Thimpu, the capital.
“And if there’s anything I hope the rest of the world can learn from Bhutan, it’s that a country with few physicians and nurses but a truly committed king and government mobilizing society – it’s not difficult to vaccinate the entire country.”
Before India banned shipments due to a big local outbreak of illnesses, the tiny nation had swiftly used up the majority of the 550,000 AstraZeneca vaccines provided by the neighboring countries in late March and early April for first injections.
Bhutan initiated a donation campaign in response to the widening time gap between the first and second doses.
In mid-July, Covax, the vaccine distributor funded by the World Health Organization and the Gavi vaccine alliance, received half a million Moderna doses from the United States and another 250,000 AstraZeneca shots from Denmark.
More than 400,000 AstraZeneca, Pfizer, and Sinopharm vaccines are expected to arrive from Croatia, Bulgaria, China, and other countries in the South Asian nation of 770,000 inhabitants.
Meanwhile, the government has ordered 200,000 Pfizer doses, which will be delivered later this year.
Bhutan, which is sandwiched between India and China and is known for its Gross National Happiness (GNH), has reported just under 2,500 Covid-19 infections and two deaths.
The country’s quick vaccination rollout contrasts with other South Asian countries that have been affected by India’s ban of vaccine exports.