Almost half of the world’s population Received at least one dose Of the COVID-19 vaccine. However, the numbers vary widely from country to country. Many low- and middle-income countries have rarely launched vaccination campaigns.
But the small Himalayan country of Bhutan is not one of them. By the end of July, 90% of adults had been fully vaccinated. Despite the small number of doctors and nurses Only 3 weeks In the summer it delivered seconds vaccination It is administered to almost all adults in Japan.This is noteworthy Success story For one of Least developed countries in the world.
Health Minister Dechen Wanmo It recognizes solidarity, the small scale of Bhutan, and science-based policymaking for its success. The results highlight logistical challenges and how vaccine hesitation can be overcome.
Donations are very important
Bhutan’s success would not have been possible without international cooperation.The first vaccine Donated by India.. By March 2021, India had been vaccinated with the AstraZeneca vaccine 450,000 times. This is enough to give all eligible adults in Bhutan the first inoculation of spring.
However, getting a second dose was a challenge. India’s second wave arrives soon, prioritizing domestic immunization, Ban on vaccine exports.. Although Bhutan’s direct dose sources were depleted, cross-border India’s increasing case load poses a rapidly increasing risk of infection.
After being nervous 500,000 times Moderna vaccine Covax, Vaccine sharing initiative.Additional 250,000 The administration of the AstraZeneca vaccine came from Denmark, followed by the supply of AstraZeneca, Pfizer and Sinofarm vaccines from Bulgaria, Croatia, China and other countries.
Planning makes logistics work
Distribution was another big part of the puzzle. Bhutan is a remote area. Access to the land is only possible on some roads from India. The Covax vaccine arrived by plane at Paro International Airport.One of the most Challenging landing In the world, Paro sits in a deep valley. The surrounding mountain peaks are 5,500 meters high.
Domestic transportation is also difficult. Bhutan has a population of about 750,000 and is scattered in areas about the same size as Switzerland. Not all mountainous countries are accessible by road.
For this reason, Ministry of Public Health It was necessary to plan in detail how to give the first and second doses to all adults as soon as possible. This included extensive field visits to remote areas to map where people were and identify possible vaccination sites.Visit Established method of supply These sites — by road, by air, or even on foot to the most inaccessible areas.
Schools, monasteries, etc. Public building Was used for As a vaccination center. Since it can be difficult to keep vaccines cold enough in small areas, district hubs have been created nationwide to store vaccines and coordinate distribution to small areas as needed. Domestic and helicopter shuttle services were used to move doses throughout the country.
And a digital platform — Bhutan vaccination system— Helped speed up the deployment of the second dose. This allows people to pre-register online before receiving the jab, so they don’t waste time entering their personal information at the Vaccine Center.
User surveys were also central to Bhutan Planning stage.. The Ministry of Health held online meetings with healthcare professionals and authorities at the district and village levels to highlight potential challenges. At the same time, the ministry mobilized and trained health care workers to vaccinate and monitor patients.
However, with only 376 doctors in the country, a shortage of health care workers was quickly identified during the planning phase.Therefore, 50 registered doctors known to be studying abroad recall..
Nurses and healthcare professionals saidGuardian of peace“—Part of a volunteer, national service program that has been conducted in Bhutan for the past decade and has 4,500 members. These parents encouraged people to vaccinate and helped manage the vaccine center.
Set a good example
Good leadership is also a hallmark of Bhutan’s vaccine deployment.There is High level of trust To the political leader of the country. This has been supported by a government with two doctors and two public health professionals during the pandemic. Cabinet for 11 people.. NS Prime Minister And that Minister of Health We have spent a considerable amount of time responding to COVID-19 nationwide.
The role of King Jigme Khesar Namgel Wanchuck should not be underestimated either.Bhutan Constitutional monarchy In 2008, moving to having a democratically elected government, the king is still highly respected. His presence was felt nationwide as he traveled to remote settlements to oversee protective measures.
Bhutanese politicians too Relationship with the public To overcome the hesitation of the vaccine. The study investigated public concerns, along with a government response focused on the transmission of science behind the vaccine. Uptake was promoted By social media influencers and TV and movie personalities.
Cultural sensitivity was also important to secure public support. for example, Monk We decided when to deploy the vaccine and chose the most auspicious time (most of the population is Buddhist). The monks also decided that the first dose should be given by women and given to women born in the year of the monkey.
Not all countries can achieve Bhutan’s goals. The small population and high confidence in the authorities facilitated this development. However, Bhutan shows that rapid and equitable vaccine deployment is possible at a low price. Middle income country..
What is clear is that the international community must cooperate in the provision of vaccines. Obtaining doses to remote areas in the least developed countries of the world is a major challenge and may also require assistance in controlling distribution. Bhutan, however, needs to provide encouragement that it is possible to meet it.
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