A healthcare worker inoculates a dose of a Covid-19 vaccine to a Buddhist monk in Thimphu on March 27.(AFP Photo)
A healthcare worker inoculates a dose of a Covid-19 vaccine to a Buddhist monk in Thimphu on March 27.(AFP Photo)

Covid-19: Bhutan vaccinates over 60% people in record time, leaves behind Israel

The vaccination programme began in Bhutan on March 27. It is using the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine donated by India.
By hindustantimes.com | Edited by Amit Chaturvedi
PUBLISHED ON APR 08, 2021 03:05 PM IST

At a time when all the countries in the world are racing against time to give Covid-19 vaccine to most of their population, the tiny Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan has created a record. The country may not be well-known as economic powerhouse, but when it comes to giving vaccine shots, over 60 per cent of Bhutan's population has received a first jab.

Surprisingly, the Himalayan kingdom started its two-dose vaccination drive just 11 days ago. It is using the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine donated by India.

By Wednesday, 470,000 people out of 770,000 (61.03%) had been administered the first shot.

Ninda Dema, a 30-year-old woman born in the year of the Monkey as per the Buddhist astrology, became the country’s first to receive the shot on March 27. She was given the vaccine jab at a school-turned-vaccination centre in the capital Thimphu.

“Let this small step of mine today help us all prevail through this illness,” Ninda was quoted by the Kuensel newspaper as saying after being selected to take the first jab.

And in just nine days, Bhutan has achieved what many other countries couldn't.

When Bhutan's campaign launched on March 27, it set the speedy target of vaccinating over half a million adults - in just one week.

With this record, Bhutan has left Israel behind which has given both shots of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to more than half of its population.

The country has recorded 896 Covid-19 infections and one death so far. Bhutan has been able to slow the spread of the virus with early screening and monitoring at entry points, testing and sealing of borders.

Bhutan received 150,000 doses of the vaccine manufactured by the Serum Institute of India in January. The authorities waited for 400,000 more shots that were provided last month to begin the campaign in one go.

The scenic country is famous for its “gross national happiness” index.

(With inputs from agencies)

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