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Bhutan sees high turnout on 1st day of COVID-19 vaccination

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The nationwide COVID-19 vaccination program in Bhutan saw mass turnout with 85,000 people inoculated on Saturday, the first day of the vaccination drive, the Ministry of Health said on Sunday.

According to the daily update on COVID-19 from the Health Ministry, around 57,000 individuals were vaccinated on Sunday, taking the total coverage to over 142,000 people receiving the first dose of COVID-19 vaccine.

Bhutan aims to become one of the first countries in the world to administer the first doses of COVID-19 vaccine to all its eligible population, said Prime Minister Lotay Tshering. By April 4, Bhutan aims to vaccinate an estimated of 533,558 people eligible for COVID-19 vaccination, of the total population of 765,000 people.

As per the Health Ministry, following the first day vaccination few common and adverse reactions were reported, which includes headache, nausea and injection site tenderness/pain. These reactions are common for all other vaccination, said the ministry.

"All the adverse reactions reported across the nation were reviewed by the National Immunization Technical Advisory Group (NITAG)," stated the Health Ministry.

The ministry also informed the public that, a separate vaccination program will be arranged for elderly people above 70 years and physically challenged individuals who cannot walk.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Tshering reminded the nation that while COVID-19 vaccination remained key to opening the country and getting things back on track, relaxations, including quarantine protocols and duration, would be seen only after administering the second dose of the vaccine.

The second dose of the vaccination program is scheduled eight to 12 weeks from now, according to the prime minister.