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Members of National Assembly briefed on the COVID-19 Vaccination Roll out Plan

Posted on :19 January 2021

Members from the National Assembly led by the Hon’ble Speaker, Leader of the Opposition, Dy Speaker attended a zoom presentation on the COVID-19 Vaccination Roll Out Plan of the Ministry of Health by the Health Minister and Health Officials on19 January 2021 at 12 pm. 

 

Mr. Sangay Phuntsho, Program Officer from the Ministry of Health presented on the three available vaccines mainly Pfizer, Moderna and Astrazeneca, their characteristics, storage temperature, recommended age and adverse reactions. The members were informed on the details of the available space and storage capacity for different  vaccines, distribution mechanisms and vaccination roll out plans of the  Health Ministry.  It was informed that the MInistry plans to complete  vaccination of the whole country within one week. Other details such as the number of health centers and vaccinators and plans of the Ministry to  initiate development of vaccine  apps, line listing of eligible population pre screening tools  to avoid coincidental events, capacity building of health workers, training being conducted on vaccination and standard protocol in case of adverse reactions were also presented. The Health Minister also informed that the government is in position to finance Astrazeneca and bilateral discussions are already underway. 

 

After the presentation, Members questioned the Health Minister regarding the public safety, public trust and urgency of the vaccination especially for people with comorbid conditions.  Concerns were also raised regarding the efficacy of the vaccine and urged the Ministry of Health to carry out nationwide sensitization and information dissemination to gain public trust and confidence and support of the public before immunization. The Members felt that it was very important to bring the public on board to achieve herd immunity. Members also raised their concern regarding the need for consent to immunization and felt that this might impede the Ministry of Health objective of achieving 100percent coverage. The Leader of the Opposition applauded the Ministry of Health for maintaining zero deaths due to COVID and hoped that immunization would not change the data.     The Members voiced their appreciation to the Ministry of Health for their hard work and expressed their support for the immunization program presented by the Ministry.

 

The Health Minister clarified that gaining the public trust and public safety was an important objective of the Ministry and will be carrying out national sensitization and information sharing regarding the vaccine and risks involved. The Minister also said that all possible plans and preparations are being made to manage cases  of anaphylactic shock due to the vaccine if any. The Health Minister clarified that the  Astrazina has been produced on a tried out platform and has been  approved and is not on trial basis. She also clarified that as per the guidelines of the vaccines people with comorbid conditions have been advised to be given the vaccination unless they are  under critical care. The Minister also informed that the Ministry is seeking legal guidance from the OAG regarding the vaccination program and legal consent. As for herd immunity the Minister assured that excluding the pregnant and lactating women and those under 18, approximately 70 percent of herd immunity will be achieved. The Minister also assured that as per past experience and survey Bhutanese are in favour of the vaccine and all efforts will be made to carry out sensitization before immunization. The Minister sought guidance and support from the Members of the Parliament on the ground realities in the constituencies and any information that the MInistry of Health may not be aware of. 

 

The presentation concluded with the Dy Speaker, thanking the Ministry of Health for the presentation on behalf of the Hon’ble Speaker and the Members of Parliament.

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