Bhutan’s Race to Vaccinate its People

By Daniel Nardini

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - CommentaryOne of the most remote and isolated countries on earth, the Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan, is sandwiched between China and India. Its mountains have acted as a natural barrier to entering the country, and until recently had maintained a policy of isolation. Now, like so many countries around the world, it faces the corona virus pandemic. Its position between China and India has made it vulnerable to the new delta variant of the virus. India has lost tens of thousands of its people to the delta variant, and the delta variant has entered China with a vengeance.

Hence, the Bhutanese government has sought to vaccinate every adult. Bhutan has imported the AstraZeneca vaccine from India, Denmark, Croatia and Bulgaria, and the Moderna vaccine from the United States. It began an aggressive campaign to vaccinate every eligible adult, and the kingdom was able to vaccinate 90 percent of all adults. Considering how out-of-the-way some of parts of this country are, it has been no mean feat to get almost all of its adult population vaccinated. But then it is racing against time because the delta variant could just as easily devastate Bhutan and destroy or greatly damage its ancient Buddhist culture and society as if it were the Black Death.

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