A health worker inoculate a dose of a COVID-19 coronavirus vaccine to a woman during the first day of vaccination in Bhutan, at Lungtenzampa Middle Secondary school in Thimphu on March 27, 2021. (Photo by Upasana DAHAL / AFP)(AFP)
A health worker inoculate a dose of a COVID-19 coronavirus vaccine to a woman during the first day of vaccination in Bhutan, at Lungtenzampa Middle Secondary school in Thimphu on March 27, 2021. (Photo by Upasana DAHAL / AFP)(AFP)

Bhutan delivers first vaccine dose to 85% of adult population in a week

  • Bhutan administered the first shot of the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine to 85% of its adult population within a week, according to a report by The Economist on Saturday. Only Israel (95.1%) and the Seychelles (94.1%) have vaccinated a higher percentage of adults, but in months, the report adds.
By HT Correspondent, New Delhi/ Thimpu
UPDATED ON APR 12, 2021 04:24 AM IST

The curve of Bhutan’s Covid-19 vaccination drive, when plotted on a graph, is nearly perpendicular, titled at a slight obtuse angle.

While most countries, even the ones that have performed well, took months to scale up inoculations against coronavirus, the tiny nation of nearly 800,000 citizens did it in a matter of days.

Bhutan administered the first shot of the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine to 85% of its adult population within a week, according to a report by The Economist on Saturday. Only Israel (95.1%) and the Seychelles (94.1%) have vaccinated a higher percentage of adults, but in months, the report adds.

Earlier on Wednesday, government officials told news agency AFP that 470,000 people out of 770,000 in total had been administered the first shot of the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine donated by India.

The numbers are fortified from Our World in Data, which shows that 61.45% of the country’s entire population had received at least one dose of the vaccine until April 10.

But the Himalayan kingdom’s ambitious vaccination drive, which began nine days ago, hasn’t always been straightforward.

Bhutan — which has so far recorded a total 918 Covid-19 cases and one fatality — received the vaccine from India in January. However, the Zhung Dratshang, a body of Buddhist monks, advised the government that the stars weren’t auspicious. And so, the first jab was given nearly two months later to a woman named Ninda Dema — born in the Year of the Monkey, the Economist report says.

From there on, it was an upward trend.

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