A small Asian country wedged between India and China is right up there among the top nations to have vaccinated the majority of its population against COVID-19.
The kingdom of Bhutan's Health Ministry said on April 8 that 93 percent of all adults aged 18 to 104 in the country had received their first dose of the vaccine. All in all, that makes 472,139 of its eligible residents vaccinated, which is roughly 62 percent of its overall population, says Our World in Data.
What's incredible about these numbers is that Bhutan managed to roll out its vaccination program in just two weeks, starting its first inoculations on March 27.
The country is now up in the league of nations with the most vaccinated people, like Israel and Seychelles.
How Bhutan managed to vaccinate so many people in such a short space of time
As the local newspaper, Daily Bhutan, outlined in late March, the country received a total of 550,000 AstraZeneca vaccine doses, which it calls Covishield, from India.
Over 1,000 sites were dedicated to the vaccine drive, which were divided up into different regions, such as western, and eastern. Forty-one doctors were specifically placed on duty to oversee correct vaccine protocol being carried out and help if any adverse side effects occurred.
Our data is updated: https://t.co/03pQ8rRViP— Edouard Mathieu (@redouad) April 10, 2021
Share of people with at least 1 dose
🇧🇹 Bhutan 61%
🇮🇱 Israel 61%
🇬🇧 UK 47%
🇨🇱 Chile 38%
🇺🇸 US 34%
🇧🇭 Bahrain 33%
🇭🇺 Hungary 29%
🇷🇸 Serbia 25%
🇺🇾 Uruguay 23%
🇸🇬 Singapore 19%
🇫🇮 Finland 19%
🇨🇦 Canada 18%
🇪🇪 Estonia 18%
🇱🇹 Lithuania 17% pic.twitter.com/Jeu1ezYc48
Aside from being well organized, another factor played a major role in the vaccine's successful rollout: the country's size. Bhutan is small, as the state-run newspaper Kuensel pointed out, with a population under 800,000 people. "It is our smallness that has led to this feat," the newspaper stated.
However, Kuensel also explains that the country's exemplary system helped maintain COVID-19 numbers low from the start by containing local outbreaks quickly and efficiently. AP News pointed out that throughout the pandemic, Bhutan has recorded 910 COVID-19 infections and one death.
Moving forward, Bhutan is set on keeping up its vaccine program and having as many residents inoculated as quickly as possible. As the country's Prime Minister, Dr. Lotay Tshering, said "Given the infection rate of the disease, we need above 70 percent coverage in order to attain the desired herd immunity."
The race has not yet been won, as Bhutan's government has explained. However, the country has shown how well a vaccination program can work, just like they have in Israel, Seychelles, and even in the U.K.