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Surpassing Israel, Bhutan vaccinates 93% of adults in 16 days

When plotted on a graph, the curve of Bhutan’s COVID-19 vaccination drive shoots upwards from the very first day, passing Israel, the United States, Bahrain, and other countries known for vaccinating people rapidly.

Those countries took months to reach where they are, painstakingly strengthening their vaccination campaigns in the face of rising coronavirus cases. But the story of Bhutan’s vaccination campaign is nearly finished — just 16 days after it began.

The tiny Himalayan kingdom wedged between India and China has vaccinated nearly 93 percent of its adult population since March 27. Overall, the country has vaccinated 62% of its 800,000 people.

The rapid rollout of the vaccine puts the tiny nation just behind Seychelles, which has given jabs to 66% of its population of nearly 100,000 people.

Its small population helped Bhutan move fast, but its success has also been attributed to its dedicated citizen volunteers, known as “desuups,” and established cold chain storage used during earlier vaccination drives.

Bhutan received its first 150,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine from neighboring India in January, but the shots were distributed beginning in late March to coincide with auspicious dates in Buddhist astrology.

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