At 9.30am on March 27, Bhutan rolled out one of its most successful vaccination campaigns - the drive to vaccinate all 533,000 eligible population against COVID-19. As of April 27, the country had vaccinated 480,181 people, records with the Ministry of Health show.
Executed collectively from the planning to the implementation, the vaccination involved participation from the highest authority to local community leaders. By being apart, the country came together to ensure all eligible population above 18 years received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
To defy the difficult terrain and the long journey, vaccines were air-lifted by helicopters and domestic flights to eight districts to reach the far-flung communities. Refrigerated vans were used to transport vaccines to the remaining districts.
A total of 1,200 vaccination sites comprising community offices, health centres and schools were opened across the country to ensure easy access. People with mobility issues such as the visually impaired and the elderly were provided with home-based vaccination services.
In Dagana district, one of the vaccination centres was Samey Primary School at Tseza gewog. At Drujaygang gewog, vaccination was held at the Basic Health Unit, where local leaders helped pitch tents for the residents and arranged vehicles to transport the elderlies.
“The mass vaccination was a collective exercise, spearheaded by His Majesty The King. UNICEF is humbled to have assisted Bhutan in achieving high vaccination coverage in such a short period of time. UNICEF leveraged its expertise in procuring cold chain equipment, critical medical supplies and technical assistance, all of which helped in preparing the rapid vaccination rollout.”
UNICEF Bhutan Representative, Dr Will Parks
Led by the Ministry of Health, UN agencies including UNICEF were engaged in the development of the vaccine deployment plan including the logistics, determining population eligibility for vaccination, training of health workers and in providing cold chain support. The Government of India donated the COVID-19 vaccines.
By being apart, the country came together to ensure all eligible population above 18 years received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
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