Paro valley (Bhutan): An Indian Air Force aircraft delivered the first consignment of 150,000 doses of Covishield vaccines to Bhutan on Wednesday, making it the first country to receive the gift from India, which was received by Prime Minister Dr. Lotay Tshering.
According to an official release, the AN32 aircraft delivered the vaccines to Bhutan, just four days after India’s own massive roll-out of the vaccine.
Dr. Tshering, Health Minister Dechen Wangmo, foreign secretary Kinga Singye and a few other senior officials received the vaccines from Indian Ambassador Ruchira Kamboj at the Paro International Airport, the release said.
According to the sources, Bhutan is the first country to receive the Government of India’s gift of the COVID vaccines, manufactured by the Serum Institute of India (SII).
Receiving the vaccine, Bhutan PM said it was a gift from a trusted friend, who has been with Bhutan all through the decades and in this pandemic too.
“As we celebrate the arrival of the vaccine as the new milestone in our battle to beat the pandemic at home, we applaud the gesture that signifies the compassion and generosity of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and the people of India for the wellbeing of humanity,” Bhutan PM said.
“It is the display of altruism at best, and an exhibition of India’s sincerity in the relationship we cherish,” PM Tshering said, adding it comes despite enormous challenges India was facing due to the pandemic.
The dispatch of the vaccine was the testimony to India’s commitment to “neighborhood first” and its leadership in the global fight against COVID-19, the release said.
PM Tshering said these supports translate into hope and confidence for all the countries to successfully sail across the pandemic soon.
The contribution of 150,000 vaccines prepares Bhutan to protect the people and heal from the destruction of the pandemic. India has also extended timely and generous support through the supply of medicines, medical equipment, and personal protective equipment since March last year, the release added.
Meanwhile, the Indian government has assured to cover the two doses requirement of Bhutan’s target population of slightly over 533,500 and has committed to deliver the remaining consignments soon, the release stated.
India so far has provided essential medicines and medical supplies including paracetamol, hydroxychloroquine, PPEs, N95 masks, X-ray machines, and test kits worth over Rs 2.8 cores to Bhutan. It also entered into an “Air Travel Arrangement” or “Transport Bubble” agreement with Bhutan, sources said.