After the deferment in the export of the Pfizer vaccine from New York due to the indemnification agreement, the COVID-19 vaccine finally reached Bhutan through the COVAX Facility.
The first tranche includes 5,850 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, which will be stored at the central storage facility in Thimphu at a temperature of -70 degrees Celsius.
Though Bhutan was identified as the first country to receive the vaccine under the COVAX Facility in the region, the arrival was delayed as the government has not signed a legal document with the manufacture until last month when the cabinet approved and signed the document that was required to access the facility.
The health ministry initially said that the Pfizer vaccines would be strictly used for children who do not qualify to receive the Covishield vaccine.
It may be mentioned here that as per the World Health Organisation (WHO), Pfizer is the only vaccine approved for children (16 years and above), while Covieshield is recommended for 18 and above age groups.
However, given the limited stock of the vaccine, it could be enough to inoculate just over 2,900 individuals (taking into account two doses for each individual
Meanwhile, Bhutan Prime Minister Dr Lotay Tshering had recently said that around 167,000 children did not receive the COVID-19 vaccination in the country.
He said that this group of children are more vulnerable to the pandemic.