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Bhutan’s vaccination plan and its world’s fastest immunization drive

  • Category
    Science & Technology
  • Published
    26th Apr, 2021

The vast majority of Bhutan’s first doses were administered at about 1,200 vaccination centers over a weeklong period in late March and early April. That rate was ahead of those of the United Kingdom and the United States more than seven times that of neighboring India and nearly six times the global average.

Context

The vast majority of Bhutan’s first doses were administered at about 1,200 vaccination centers over a weeklong period in late March and early April. That rate was ahead of those of the United Kingdom and the United States more than seven times that of neighboring India and nearly six times the global average.

About

About Successful Bhutan’s Vaccine Model

  • Pre-planned: It started its vaccination drive with registration and planning the drive.
  • Vaccination centers: Around 1,200 vaccination centers were set up for inoculating over 64% of the country’s adult population with the first shot of a Covid-19 vaccine.
  • Commitment at higher level: The leader such as PM and Health Minister themselves showed social isolation behaviour.
  • Lower case load: A low Covid-19 caseload has also helped the country fast-track its inoculation process.
  • Lockdown: Bhutan has recorded only 934 cases and just one death, which was aided by two carefully managed lockdowns.
  • Sealed Border: It has kept its borders closed for over a year, with a few exceptions, and anyone who entered the country has to go into mandatory quarantine for 21 days.
  • India’s contribution: India has also played a crucial role in the rapid program of the vaccine in Bhutan.
    • Bhutan received testing kits, personal protective equipment, N95 masks and essential medicines like paracetamol from India.
  • Free of Cost Service: Primary healthcare in Bhutan is free of cost.
  • Immunisation programmes: Bhutan’s prized possession is its established “cold chain” vaccination programme which is behind its present success.
    • The country had also achieved universal immunisation earlier in the 1990s, the current immunisation is riding on the existing programmes.
  • Skilled health Workers: The vaccine outreach also depended on the health workers who had completed the Expanded Programme on Immunisation (EPI).
    • It set the tone for a holistic public healthcare system in Bhutan and readied a cold-chain infrastructure for Covid-19 vaccines.
    • These healthcare workers were the ones who went around the country to administer the vaccines.
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