Vaccinating Bhutan against COVID-19

By staying apart, the country came together to vaccinate all its eligible population.

UNICEF Bhutan
A nurse readies a vaccine during a home visit in Wangdue
UNICEF Bhutan/2021/SPelden
27 April 2021

At 9.30am on March 27, Bhutan rolled out one of its most successful vaccination campaigns - to vaccinate all 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.

The mass COVID-19 vaccination begins in Thimphu.
UNICEF Bhutan/2021/SPelden

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.

Two nurses walk with the vaccine carriers in Dagana
UNICEF Bhutan/2021

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 those with mobility issues.

A line of people
UNICEF Bhutan/2021
An elderly man receives his dose of COVID-19 vaccine
UNICEF Bhutan/2021
A young girl gets her dose of COVID-19 vaccine in Dagana
UNICEF Bhutan/2021/SPelden
A group of people walk through the fields
UNICEF Bhutan/2021/SPelden

“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 Bhutan Representative, Dr Will Parks
A man stands by the window to a register for COVID-19 vaccine
UNICEF Bhutan/2021
An old man gets vaccinated at home
UNICEF Bhutan/2021/SPelden
A child looks on as his mother gets vaccinated.
UNICEF Bhutan/2021/SPelden

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.