English | Dzongkha Friday, October 30, 2020

NITAG identifies groups that should be prioritised for COVID-19 vaccine

Sep 18, 2020

It might take weeks or months or years, but an approved vaccine against the Coronavirus disease will come and many are anticipating. But when the vaccine gets available, who should get it first? Health Minister Dechen Wangmo, during the press conference today, informed that National Immunization Technical Advisory Group (NITAG) has already identified groups that should be prioritised.

The framework has identified population group for phase-wise allocation based on four risk criteria. After high-risk health workers and active front liners, elderly population above 60 years old and medically vulnerable groups are among the first to receive the vaccine.

There are 5,932 high-risk health workers, 35,786 active front liners, 41,527 elderly population and 34,522 people with co-morbid conditions.

“In phase two, it includes passive front liners and students and staff of schools. And if we get more vaccines, then in phase three pregnant women and children less than 12 years old will be vaccinated. Lastly, the rest of the population who are in between 13 to 60 years will be vaccinated,” Lyonpo said.

According to the Health Ministry, COVAX Facility and Advance Market Commitment’s document mentioned that Bhutan will be allocated vaccine for 20% of the population which makes 151,226 Bhutanese of the 756,129 total projected population in 2021.

The World Health Organisation says nearly 180 vaccine candidates are being tested around the world and many are yet to complete the clinical trials.

Sangay Chezom

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