Bhutan: 93% of adults vaccinated in 16 days

The Himalayan kingdom Bhutan has recently completed vaccinating 93% of its adult population in the world.

How did Bhutan succeed in its vaccination programme?

  • The population of Bhutan is small. This is one of the main reason behind the rapid vaccination in the country.
  • Apart from this, the success has also been attributed to “Dessuups”.
  • In January 2021, Bhutan received 150,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine from India. This was the first COVID-19 vaccine shot received by the country.

How did Bhutan begin its COVID-19 vaccination programme?

Bhutan is a Buddhist country. The first dose of COVID-19 vaccine was administered to a woman born in the year of the monkey along with Buddhist prayers. This depicts the seriousness of the Bhutanese towards the vaccination. Also, an auspicious Buddhist date was chosen to administer the vaccines. In fact, they waited till March 27th to begin the vaccination!

What is Dessuup?

Dessuup is the highest form of voluntary act in Bhutan. They are trained volunteers wearing an orange uniform. The Dessuup programme was first started in 2011. Under the programme, Bhutan has so far trained 4,457 Bhutanese.

India-Bhutan

India has a major role in the vaccination success of Bhutan. India has been constantly supporting Bhutan in the fields of Defence, Education, Health, Science and Technology.

Bhutan is currently receiving help from the Indian Space Research Organisation to launch its own satellite in 2021. India and Bhutan are to jointly develop INS-2B. As a part of this, Bhutan scientists were trained in India.

India stood by Bhutan during the Doklam crisis. Doklam is a disputed region between China and Bhutan. India does not claim Doklam but supports Bhutan’s claim over the region. During the stand off, India launched Operation Juniper. Under the operation, India sent 270 Indian troops to stop the Chinese troops from constructing a road in the disputed region (dispute between China and Bhutan).

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