Thimphu: Luana, one of the most remote areas of Bhutan -- about twice the size of New York City, a terrain marked by glacial lakes and some of the highest peaks, and inaccessible by car – has vaccinated most of its residents.
Vials of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine arrived last month by helicopter and were distributed by health workers, who trudged from village to village, plodding through snow and ice, reports New York Times.
Vaccinations proceeded unhindered in the area’s 13 settlements even after yaks damaged some of the field tents that volunteers had set up for patients, adds the NYT.
Lunana’s inoculation drive is a laudable success story in one of Asia’s poorest countries, which incidentally surpasses most nations in the happiness index.
As the inoculation drive winds up, the authorities have already administered the first dose to more than 478,000 people, over 60 percent of its population. The Health Ministry said this month that more than 93 percent of eligible adults had received their first shots.
This is a better rate than that of the United Kingdom and the United States, more than seven times that of neighbouring India and nearly six times the global average. Bhutan is also ahead of several other geographically isolated countries with small populations, including Iceland and the Maldives.
Of course, being a small country with a population of just over 750,000, a two-week vaccination campaign was doable. But that is easier said than done.