Bhutan to receive Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID vaccine from India

Thimphu: Bhutan Prime Minister Lotay Tshering on Monday announced that Thimphu will receive Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine from India to help the country fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

Noting the ‘value of the old ties’ between the two countries, Tshering said that New Delhi will provide coronavirus vaccines for free.

“If we have to buy the vaccines then we may to spend USD 6 million. His Majesty was informed by the GoI that they value the old ties with Bhutan and will help Bhutan. We have told GoI that we plan to vaccinate the whole eligible population in one go and they said they understand,” PM Tshering was quoted by The Bhutanese.

“GoI (Government of India) has announced that they will provide vaccines for free and if we have to procure vaccines then His Majesty has said he would even provide from his personal resources,” he added.

As per the Bhutanese daily, Tshering also informed that Bhutan King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck has commanded that all Bhutanese abroad to get vaccinated.

“His Majesty has commanded that all Bhutanese abroad should be vaccinated too and if required then the embassies and missions will provide the resources if the vaccine has to be paid for,” said Bhutan PM.

This comes after the Nepal Government approved the emergency use of the ‘Covishield’ vaccine last week, which is being manufactured by the Serum Institute of India (SII).

The Indian side assured that the “requirements of Nepal would be in priority consideration after the roll-out of vaccines”, said the Nepal Embassy following the approval of the vaccine.

Last week, Nepal Foreign Minister Pradeep Kumar Gyawali had said that India is a frontrunner in starting vaccinating people against COVID-19 and this “has given us great hope.”

“Today as we wait for the availability of Covid-19 vaccines, India is one of the frontrunners. This has given us great hope. I take this opportunity to congratulate India and its innovative companies for success. Being next door, we believe we too will be availing these vaccines,” Gyawali said in a speech during an event organised by the Indian Council of World Affairs at Sapru House here.

He also lauded India’s achievements in infrastructure, industrialisation and decades of successful democratic practice.